When Do Babies Start Talking: Milestones, Warning Signs & More

Becoming a parent can feel like a daunting task. You’re not only worried about yourself anymore, but you’re also at the beckoned call of a small human.

You track and monitor everything from feedings and sleep schedules to make sure that you’re doing everything “right.” Or as “right” as anyone can.

A huge source of anxiety for new parents is the different developmental stages their children go through.

Because, let’s face it, no parent ever wants to hear that their child is “behind” in any capacity.

So, When Do Babies Start Talking?

when do babies start talking words

Every child is different, and they should be treated as their own individual but, there are certain benchmarks it can be helpful to look out for to know if your baby is on track.

If they’re not, there is no need to worry.

By tracking your baby’s development, you can get help or support sooner rather than later, and it’s okay to acknowledge that children all operate on their own unique timeline.

For parents wanted to ensure their child is moving in the right direction with things like speech, it can be important to start monitoring your children’s speak regularly and checking to see where they fall when it comes to typical child development.

First, Your Baby Will Be Making Random Sounds (3-6 Months)

Newborns are known for making one sound and one sound only: crying.

It’s how they communicate everything from wet diapers, hunger, thirst, sleepiness, and just about every other emotion you can think of.

It isn’t until about three months old that they start cooing and making different cry sounds for different needs.

At the end of six months, they’ll be making an even wider range of sounds. You’ll hear your baby gurgling, babbling, and squeaking.

Babies at this age can even use the tone of their voice to express delight or displeasure and will move their eyes in the direction of different sounds.

They enjoy music and will notice that toys make sounds. And crying. Babies at this age still do cry for most things.

Then, Your Baby Will Start Mumbling (6-12 Months)

When babies reach one year old, you’ll notice that they may have expanded their vocabulary.

Some babies will be able to say basic words like “mama,” or “dada,” or “uh-oh”.

Children at this age might be mumbling a lot but not making much sense as they practice imitating speech sounds from the adults around them.

They can turn and look in the direction of noises and might begin to recognize common words but not be able to speak them until they’re a bit older.

Then, They’ll Start Talking Clearly (18-24 Months)

When a baby reaches 18 months, they will have gained considerable speaking skills and will begin to progress relatively quickly.

By this time, your child should be able to say as many as ten words.

Your baby will also be able to recognize the names of people and follow simple directions that are accompanied by gestures.

They can more clearly be understood at this age than in the previous milestone, which is great for parents.

When a baby has reached two years old, they should be talking even more clearly.

You might notice that your baby is able to string a few words together, such as “no juice” or “go nigh-night.”

Babies at this stage should know about 50 different words and speak well enough to be understood by most caregivers.

Two-year-old’s can also follow simple commands or answer simple yes-or-no questions.

It’s at this age when their language becomes clearer. Kids can express themselves better with their language, and it can generally be understood.

Finally, They’ll Start Talking Fluently (36-48 Months)

Children don’t really start speaking fluently until they reach four years old.

When they’re three, they’ll likely have words for almost everything, with about half the words they use being accurate.

This chatty stage that all children go through is key in their development because it’s when they’re learning to pronounce things correctly and are making stronger associations between words and their corresponding people, places, or things.

When children reach age four, typical preschool age, they should be able to string together sentences using five or more words.

But your child’s vocabulary might vary widely, and their pronunciation of words may still be wonky.

A preschooler can usually speak without repeating the same words and can understand two-step instructions.

Talking can still be improved upon at this age into five or six-years-old where children may still be learning how to string sentences together properly.

How To Improve Your Baby’s Talking Skills

how to improve baby talking skills

Reading and singing songs are great interventions for parents who are worried about language skills.

  • Books help children learn to speak, even if parents are the ones who are doing most of the reading.
  • Reading helps children add words to their vocabulary, start to help them internalize grammar, and link words to their meaning through pictures.
  • Singing songs together can also be a fun way to practice new words or phrases for your child to get comfortable speaking.

Simply talking to children can also help them to expand their vocabulary and learn how to pronounce words properly.

Mealtimes and bedtimes can be a great time for parents to sit and have undivided talk time with their little ones.

These are simple moments where you can talk and listen to your kids, which helps them internalize names, places, and words for different objects and show your child that you’re happy when they speak.

Practice things like counting, animal noises and names, and clapping hands.

Teach your child to repeat after you with your language and tie your words to a corresponding action, person, or object to help them practice and learn.

As a child gets older, they might mix words up or get words turned around; just know that all of those things are normal as they are attempting to learn.

Show them what your mouth looks like when you make different sounds, like how your lips touch when you make an “m” sound, and they will gain traction in no time!

Baby Speech Development Warning Signs

when should baby start talking

If your child isn’t talking much or only saying a few words without interest in communicating, it might be time to seek help.

A child who frequently pauses while speaking or struggles to get words out might be letting you know that something is wrong.

Speech delays can occur for a multitude of reasons, like hearing problems or developmental disorders.

Here are some things that are important to watch out for, especially if you have an inkling that your baby might not be developing on schedule.

  • A 2-year-old who doesn’t copy actions and words.
  • A 3-year-old that doesn’t speak in sentences or has very unclear speech (mumbling)
  • A 4-year-old that doesn’t use “me” and “you” correctly
  • A 4-year-old that doesn’t speak clearly (mumbles)
  • A 4-year-old who can’t follow a two-step command
  • A preschooler who drools when they mispronounce words
  • A child with a history of ear infections in conjunction with language problems may have difficulty communicating due to hearing loss

In Conclusion

As with all things that have to do with baby, it’s important to keep a close eye on your child’s language abilities as they grow.

When it comes to speech and language, early intervention is critical.

The earlier a child is able to gain support for their language and speech issues, the more swiftly they can get the support that will help them throughout school and life.

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