- Tries to respond to sounds by making sounds (4–7 months)
- Says four different syllables (5–12 months)
- Recognizes familiar words (5–14 months)
- Capable of saying “da-da,” “ma-ma,” or similar (5–11 months)
- Waits their turn to speak (7–10 months)
- Babbling is less random; has meaning (8–14 months)
- Imitates sounds (8–12 months)
- Understands that words can refer to real objects (9–12 months)
- Jabbers expressively (9–18 months)
- Uses gestures and sounds to tell you they want (11–19 months)
- Points to shoes, clothing or body part when asked (10–18 months)
What You Can Do
- When your baby says something to you (for example, “Dadadada”), make eye contact and repeat the sounds back like a real conversation.
- Play games like peek-a-boo and patty-cake which teach the “give and take” of talking with others
- Talk to your baby throughout the day by broadcasting what you’re doing (“Now we’re putting on your red shirt” or “Let’s wash your face”). Hearing the sounds of words wires babies’ brains for language, even before they know any words.
- Make story time a part of your everyday activities
- Sing the same songs over and over (repetition helps prepare your baby’s brain for listening and speaking)
- As you read to your baby, point to pictures of things and label what they are (child, house)
- Find more ways to support baby’s verbal development, here.
- Let your baby “talk” without interrupting
- Keep your speech simple and short so that your baby can focus on the words
- Try to eliminate too much background noise (TV) so your baby can focus on one thing at a time.
- Read to your baby, even if it’s just a few pages. Reading is very valuable and a time to share together.
- Try not to rely on TV or videos to grow your baby’s brain or teach new skills
- Remember that your baby is still very young—try not to expect him to be able to do things beyond what’s normal for his age.
Try not to compare yourself to other parents, or your baby to other babies. Every family is different.