Every parent waits for their child to speak their first words. And with this comes a very natural question, “when do babies start talking?” communication is a two-way street, and it is amazing how they learn the language even before they are born.
This happens because they can hear your voice from the womb and get accustomed to the sounds and language. During pregnancy, many mothers read to their children, and studies have also shown that those children prefer those books after their birth as well.
When do babies start talking? Or when do babies start talking gibberish or cooing? It is exciting to experience the entire process of your baby talking, beginning from cooing to babbling to actually speaking works and finally forming an entire sentence.
There are steps in which a baby starts talking. Before talking, they start to babble. This may not make sense to you and may sound like gibberish, but this is their way of communicating with you. This is their process of establishing effective communication. This is their first try and feeble attempt at speaking.
At 3 months
By the time they reach 3 months, they observe and listen to the words and voices around them; they observe your face when you are talking, turn around to the source of the sound, and start reacting to it.
It is seen that they prefer the music or sound which they heard when they were inside the womb. But when do babies start talking? It takes them a little more time before they can speak out actual words. By the end of three months, they start cooing.
At 6 months
By the time a baby reaches 6 months, they start babbling; they start making sounds by adding vowels and consonants together, like ma-ma and ba-ba. Not everything they speak makes sense; they just put together random syllables and start blabbing. This is the time when they are taking in the language which they can understand, even when they cannot speak.
Studies have shown that babies start to associate with their caregivers by the time they reach 6 months of age. Even though they cannot speak, they start responding to their names and use their voice to express their happiness or sadness.
At 9 months
At this age, babies start putting together multiple syllables and can utter simple words like no, bye, hi, etc. They can understand a lot by this age but cannot produce words due to the lack of motor skills.
It takes a lot of cognitive skills to pull a word back from their memory and speak than it takes to understand it. They also use a wider range of tones and consonants at this age.
When do babies start talking words? Though they start babbling in their 6th month and start playing with the sounds and using their tones, it actually takes them about a year to officially utter their first word.
At 12 months
The time has arrived when you can expect to hear dada or mama for the very first time in your life. It is around the 12-month time when they actually start speaking. According to Jocelyn Wood, their first word is often the most common thing they see in front of them; it could be food items, toys, or just simple mama or dada. This is the time when they actually start talking.
At 24 months
Jocelyn Wood says that babies go through a rapid growth period from 18-24 months, and during this phase, they learn something new every day. At this age, they have a vocabulary of fifty to a hundred words, which they combine to make simple phrases like ‘my toy,’ ‘my mom,’ etc. By this time, they start combining different words and speaking.
At 36 months
By the time they reach 3 years of age, they have developed a vocabulary of 200 words or so, and it keeps expanding. When do babies start talking clearly? This is the age. They start putting together four to five words together to form a sentence. You would be able to understand what they are trying to mean as their words become quite clear.
They will start reacting with their words, and you have to be careful because they will pick up anything you speak. They will start expressing opinions about what stories they like, what they want to hear, and what they don’t like eating as well.
How to develop their talking skills?
It is natural that a baby will learn the language from their parents and their surroundings. The more you talk in front of the baby, the more they will get familiar with the words and sounds in the language and will keep trying those words themselves. But there are certain tips you can try to help them talk.
1. Talk to them: The more you talk to your baby, the faster they will try to talk back to you as a reply. This will develop their vocabulary as well. It helps a baby to connect a word to a certain object if they are named out loud. If they are showing interest in an object, say its name in front of your baby. Point at it or hold it so that they can relate the word to the object.
2. Use names and not pronouns: While referring to a person, use a specific name and not any pronoun. For example, say mommy instead of she or her while talking to the baby. This will help them catch up with the names, and they will try to say those words eagerly. If they hear a name frequently, it will help them to associate the name with that person.
3. Read to them or sing to them: Reading books can help them with their vocabulary and also make the connection stronger with the caregiver. Music has always been connected to language. It doesn’t make any difference if you can sing or not because they like it as it is coming from you.
4. Repeat words: When do babies start cooing and talking? When they are listening, they use a lot of words and try to speak those. So repeat the words a few times to get them accustomed to it and respond when they are blabbering. If you find them trying to say a word and pointing at an object, name it in front of them and repeat it.
5. Encourage imitation: When they are around, talk to them continuously, narrate whatever you are doing, and pick a few words from there and repeat those to see if they are trying to imitate you.
When should you seek help?
You cant actually timeline a baby’s talking. Every baby is unique in their own way and has their own timeline. But if your baby is not speaking at the age of 2, then that can be a cause for concern, and you might need to see a doctor. You should talk to a doctor if your child shows the causes below.
- If the baby hasen.t started cooing or babbling by 7 months of age.
- If they are not responding to their name and have reached the milestone of 9 months.
- If they haven’t spoken their first word by two years of age.
- If your baby speaks less than 25 words by 2 years of age.
- If he or she is having issues with producing sentences within 3 years.
There is nothing happier than hearing your baby saying their first words ever. When do babies start talking? It happens around the age of one year. But for that to happen, you need to encourage them and talk to them more; if they are cooing and blabbing, do that with them, read to them, and sing to them. These are the bare minimum things you can do to get them to talk. This will help them connect with you and develop their skills for talking as well.
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