Hearing your child speak their first words is one of the most awaited moment for every parent.
You must be also worried about when should he/she be able to talk?
And what can you do to help your child learn to speak?
If so, then here’s your guide which has not only milestones for your child’s speech development but also what you can do to develop your child’s speaking skills and when you should consult an health expert.
As they say, “Communication is the most powerful and influential tool.”
The first six years are the prime years of development of your child and this is when your child learns to speak.
Barriers of Communication in Your child – The Complete Guide
Following are the milestones that your baby should reach as he grows.
This can be your reference guide to know how well/badly your child is doing.
|Age||Language Development||Speech Development|
|Birth||Newborn is aware of nearby sounds. Listens to speech and cries at sudden noise.||Makes sounds while experiencing pain or pleasure.|
|0-3 months||Baby turns to you when you speak & smiles upon recognizing your voice. Responds to comforting tones.||Baby repeats the same sound a lot. ‘Coos’ & ‘goos’ when content.|
|4-6 months||Responds to the word ‘no’, changes in the tone of your voice & fascinated by toys or other machines that make sound.||Makes ‘gurgling’ sounds while playing, ‘babbles’ as if talking. Makes sounds or gestures if he/she wants something.|
|7-12 months||Listens when spoken to, turns & looks when called by name, recognizes names of familiar objects (‘daddy’, ‘car’) & responds to requests.||Sound of ‘babbling’ changes due to usage of consonants & vowels. First words are also spoken (maybe not clearly).|
|1-2 years||Identifies pictures in a book. Can point out certain body parts, follow simple commands and understand simple questions.||Improving vocabulary rapidly. Can ask 2-word questions like “Where ball?” & give 2 word commands or answers like “more push”.|
|2-3 years||Can understand fairly complex commands (“Find your shoes and put them on”) and concept of opposites (hot/cold, stop/go). Gets excited at the sound of telephones or doorbell and attempts to answer them.||Your baby will have a word for almost everything. Sentences usually consist of 2-3 words and are understandable. Baby may draw your attention to an object by naming it (aero plane) & describing it (big!).|
|3-4 years||Can identify & hear you from a different room as well as understanding “What?”, “Who?” and “Where?”||Sentences become longer and consist of 4 or more words. Baby is interested in talking about things outside the home.|
|4-5 years||Can contribute to simple discussions and understand almost everything that is said (common house talk).||Baby speaks fluently and clearly. Can speak long and detailed sentences. Able to stick to topic and tell long stories with proper grammar. Most pronunciations are correct.|
When should you be worried or consult your doctor?
When you child shows no progress over a period of time because milestones are not exact numbers but guidelines only, as no two children learn at the same pace.
What matters most is that your child progresses from one stage to another at a steady pace.
As a parent you should do everything you can to aid your child’s development and consult a health expert if you think your child isn’t reaching majority of the milestones or your child appears to be making no progress at all.
When do babies start learning to speak?
Babies are like learning machines who start learning right from the time they are inside their mother’s wombs.
They start recognizing and responding to sounds which are familiar from inside of their mother’s tummy itself. You must have felt him kick from inside in the later months of pregnancy when a certain person talks to them or a certain sound is made.
That said, language development happens mostly in their early age from 0-6 years and hence parents should give them as much as support and stimulation in this period.
How does your child learn to speak?
Your child mostly learns to speak by observing how people around him/her communicate.
It is a continuous learning process from hearing the first sounds to saying the first real words like ‘mama’ or ‘dada’.
Hence, talking and reading to your babies is of utmost importance in helping them develop their language.
Talking and reading to your child
The primary teachers of any baby are of course their mother and the father. They play a more critical role as they spend the highest amount of time with the child.
Talking and reading are the main pillars to your child’s speech development. Your child will develop and learn talking much faster if he/she is given the high exposure to words right from early age as research has shown that children seem to start recognizing and remembering words from as soon as 8months.
Talk and read as much as you can to your child. He/she may not reproduce or speak those words immediately but his mind is definitely capable of grasping those words.
You may get a surprise any day when he just randomly speaks out the words spoken to him/her on a daily basis.
Developing any skill requires a lot of nurturing with children.
Spending quality time as much as you can would surely give you desired results even in language building.
Your child learns a lot from their immediate environment which should preferably involve their primary care takers.
Your child generally learns way more from their environment than what we imagine.
Telling him/her the names of food, groceries or vehicles on the road is a good practice that you can follow with your child.
Such daily interaction would boost the grasping and talking skills of your child tremendously.
If despite doing everything you can, the speech development of your child is poor then you should ensure that your child is not a victim of certain disorders and if they are, it’s best to have an early intervention.
The disorders that can affect your child’s language development are discussed as follows:-
If there is any delay in your child’s speech development then there could be a possibility of any of the disorders like Autism or related genetic defects. Generally, there is surely a family history in such cases.
Such disorders often lead to poor speech development in the child and the power of expression using gestures and sounds go down terribly. In such cases, you need to consult a doctor immediately.
Another possible reason could be Aparaxia. This is a medical disorder in the functioning of nervous system that inhibits the child’s ability to produce proper sounds, syllables or even words.
Such children end up deleting difficult sounds and may mix up the similar sounding syllables or sounds resulting in very poor speech.
The speech will be extremely delayed in such cases and parents should understand that there is something wrong with the child and the child should immediately be taken to a good pediatrician.
Your child could be suffering from stammering problem which will create obstacles in his/her speech development.
Stammering could always be overcomes with professional help.
It requires a constant effort and support from the parent to overcome this problem.
Parents play a very critical role in overcoming it.
Sinuses or blockages:
If your child has sinus blockages all the time then it is difficult for him to produce the right sounds.
Allergies and colds happen often to those kids with poor immune system.
Speech development often suffers if the occurrence of allergies and colds is often.
For this, a constant effort on building a good immunity of a child is needed.
A daily intake of one or two Almonds and Tulsi leaves will boost up the immune system of your kid.
Also, such kids should be given highly nutritious homemade food preferably.
We as parents end up using bad pronunciation which is in turn grasped and reproduced by our kids.
You need to check your own pronunciation skills in order for your kids to have a good pronunciation.
This is a serious problem which is often ignored by parents as they are seldom aware of the mistakes they are making while talking.
We’d like to say that as a parent a little effort on a regular basis goes a long way in developing your child’s language skills.
A daily interaction of just a few hours will not only nurture your child’s language skills but also create a deep bond between you and your child.