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Who doesn’t find a baby learning to talk absolutely adorable? Babies around the globe do learn to speak different native languages. But the process of speech development is all the same, everywhere.
A baby’s first attempt to talk or communicate with others doesn’t make much sense. Nonetheless, there are some important factors at play that affect the baby’s speech from an early stage.
The Phases and Stages: Is your Baby up to Speed?
From birth to the age of three, a child’s brain development process is so rapid that every moment spent with the baby plays a vital role in this matter. So during this time period, parents and others around the baby can influence a baby’s rapid speech development. Let’s go over the different phases of a baby learning to talk.
From birth to 3 months
From the very beginning, a baby tries to express its physical needs like hunger or sleep by making a range of different noises. That’s a baby’s first attempt at communication.
From 3 to 6 months
During this period, a baby notices while parents or others talk. Sometimes they prefer a particular voice or sound and try to imitate that and start cooing.
From 6 to 9 months:
During this period, baby starts to learn some easy words to get the attention of its parents or other close family members. They also learn to recognize their name and respond to it.
At the end of this period, they start to develop their speech by pronouncing one or two real words like ‘Mamma’ or ‘Papa’.
From 9 to 18 months:
In this time period, the speech development process can be different for each baby, depending on their surrounding environment and scope of communication. If the family members continuously talk and communicate with the baby, they tend to learn faster.
Even though they can’t form a complete sentence yet, they try to frequently use the words they already know to express their needs. For example, if they are hungry, they would just say ‘Mamma, food!’.
But if the baby is rarely spoken to, it might take a lot of time for the baby to grasp the process of expressing itself.
At 18 months:
At this period, the babies learn to associate words with objects. They start to repeat after their parents and if the parents try to teach alphabetical uses in words, the babies can adopt that.
Besides, the names of body parts, animals, food or other commonly seen objects can be taught from this period. They learn to form proper sentences during this time.
At 3 years:
In this stage, babies start to talk meaningfully in complete sentences. They can understand gestures and can express their feelings through words. They adapt to the use of tense and other grammatical rules without realizing it.
During this time, parents should teach them grammar so that they can articulate their thoughts into speech in the correct way.
Knowing what to expect from a baby and when it allows parents to monitor and facilitate a baby’s speech development. If a baby shows symptoms of slow progress or a speech disorder, parents can seek help early on.
Tips – Teach your Baby How to Talk
There are some tried-and-true tips for parents to facilitate the speech development process for their babies.
Baby’s very first attempt at talking begins by the age of three months. Any such attempts should be praised by the parents. If a baby gets positive attention for a task, they’ll repeat it and get better in the process.
For instance, when a baby starts blabbing, parents should applaud or smile. In this way, babies will associate blabbing with positive reinforcement and this helps a lot in the speech development process.
Speak to your Baby All the Time
Continuously talking to a baby encourages them to imitate that behavior. Babies try to connect words with situations and objects early on.
So parents should narrate what they are doing and try to get babies’ attention. For example, if the parent is making food for baby, they should say, “Now I’m going to make your food and you would not be hungry anymore.”
Try to Establish Two-way Communication
Baby’s basic instinct is imitating its parents. So every single moment spent with the baby is precious for its speech development. Parents have to participate in their baby’s speech learning process as much as they can to facilitate it. In the beginning, try using easy words with fewer syllables.
Encourage and Reward Baby for Trying
Parents should appreciate every attempt a baby makes at talking and express their happiness verbally. In this way, the baby would feel that it is quite possible to talk like others and eventually they would learn to talk with difficulties.
Proper attention and effort can help so much in a baby’s speech development. Without constant care in this regard, babies can face unwanted speech delay problems. When such impediments do arise despite your best efforts, seek professional help as soon as possible.
Here is a video for you from a professional Speech-Language Pathologist,