While this serves as a general guideline for your baby’s speech development, each child is different and picks up at their own pace. So don’t worry too much if your baby isn’t meeting the guideline. Speak to them more to encourage them!
First 3 months
This is the time baby is building social interaction – which is the foundation of language development. By the end of 3 months, baby might:
Make ‘cooing’ sounds
Remain quiet or smile when you speak to her
Respond to sounds and noises around her
Eye gaze will follow a moving object
3 – 6 months
Baby will show an increase in babbling, she will start making some vowel sounds. By the end of 6 months, baby might:
Make gurgling sounds when playing or when left alone
Babble and make a variety of sounds
Move her eyes in the direction of sounds
Be aware that some toys make sounds when moved
Pay attention to music
6 – 12 months
This is the time when baby will start picking up sounds and words at lightning speed. Baby will respond to different sounds you make and might even start trying to imitate them. That is why it’s important for you to talk to baby as much as possible!
You can also help to increase her vocab by reading books to them or narrate to baby about what you do daily. When out for a walk, simply point out the flowers or things you see.
By the end of 12 months, baby might:
Try to imitate sounds
Say a few singular words
Understand simple instructions like ‘sit’, ‘come here’ or ‘lie down’
Recognise words for common objects like ‘shoe’, ‘book’, ‘dog’
Turn and look in the direction of sounds
Wave hello and goodbye
Shake her head
12 – 18 months
Between this period, baby should be able to respond to her own name and understand simple requests like ‘can you throw this away?’ or ‘can you put this on the table?’. By the end of 18 months, baby might:
Recognise familiar people and objects
Follow simple directions accompanied by gestures
Say as many as 8 – 10 single words
18 – 24 months
Once baby hits 18 months, you will notice an explosion of her vocab. She should be saying about 50 words by the time she is 2 years old. During this period, she will start putting two words together and try to form sentences.
You can help her along by being descriptive. Instead of saying ‘where’s the ball?’ ask ‘where’s the big yellow ball?’
By the end of 24 months, baby might:
Use simple phrases like ‘where is mummy?’, ‘more rice’
Follow simple commands and understand simple questions
Speak at least 50 words
When should you be concern?
During your regular milestone visits, the doctor or nurses will perform the usual developmental checks to see if baby is hitting the requirements. Speech delays occur for many reasons, including hearing loss and developmental disorders. Depending on the circumstances, your doctor might refer your child to specialists if needed.
In the meantime, continue talking to her about what you’re doing and where you’re going. Sing songs and read together. Teach her how to imitate actions such as clapping, listen to nursery songs with actions involved will help a lot too!
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