When should my baby start talking?
What do you mean, when should he start talking? he is talking from the day he is born!
Just watch your little one – his cries are his first ways of telling you exactly how he feels, hungry, pain, fear. Then his gurgles and mumbles as he starts to babble. And the way he watches and imitates you when you make eye contact with him, and play with him.
Research has found that a baby who has lots of these 'eyeball to eyeball' conversations,
which seem total nonsense to our limited adult brains, is able to progress faster to using
words and language, than babies who have little opportunity for this sort of play talk and
practice in turn-taking communication.
Your interaction with him is most definitely "talking", and is vital for his moving on to the
stage where he starts to form recognisable words.
Ahhh – you say – that's what I mean – that's talking!
Talking – as in words, saying things that make sense.
Ok – so this stage is around the one year mark, give or take a couple of months.
Children vary in how clear the words are that they say, and how many.
A one-year-old should be using about 5 - 10 'words' sometimes not words as an adult would use. He may say 'gog' for dog - but use the same word for cat, elephant, chicken, horse. Or he may say 'Mmmm!' For everything he eats
See what he is doing? He is making his first word groups, putting a title to each group.
He also learns important words to express feelings: good, sad, not nice, yucky. These also
may not sound like adult words yet – but you know what he means when he says them –
and he wants your reaction. He also knows and uses 'No! – even more than 'Yes!'
By about 18 months, he is beginning to expand his vocabulary and getting more words into each word group, differentiating between, say, milk and water, giving them both a name that may not sound quite right, but is one that he uses consistently to mean that word.
Around the age of two, your baby starts putting a couple of words together to make a
phrase such as 'Daddy gone?'. That is real fun time in talking. He is much cleverer than you in
being able to communicate clearly what he means, just using one or two words:
'Daddy gone' can be a question, or information, or a request for comfort. And you know
exactly what he means! How? By his intonation, or his accompanying gestures,
his facial expressions.
Do you have a wee child in your family? - try out watching him or her to see what he / she is saying! It is even easier to see this happen when you watch someone else interact with the child.
Watch what communication is used:
Non verbal: gesture, eye movements, facial expression, body movements.
Verbal: non-speech sounds, actual words, cries, vowel sounds.
Now try making some of those sounds or words back to him, and make eye contact with him. Smile and show you are enjoying your talk with him.
Does he copy you? Try a new sound or gesture?
I am quite sure you will find it a magical experience.!
Here is an example of a baby talking to her Dad on the phone!
and a short article you may find interesting:
Watch this space for a lovely video of my friend's baby - responding and copying what she hears!