Q&A: When should I expect my baby to start talking?
When should I expect my baby to start talking?
While every child is different, there are some rough rules of thumb when it comes to children learning to talk. Of course the answer to your question in part depends on what you consider to be “talking,” since even your baby’s early babbling and cooing are considered to be recognizable and important signs of language development. That said, babies typically go from beginning to coo, babble, and imitate sounds at around 3 months to longer strings of babble and more purposeful use of their voices in the second half of the year.
By the age of 1, some kids will already have a handful of actual words they can say and use appropriately, while most will say “mama” and “dada,” imitate sounds, use exclamations such as “uh-oh,” and be able to babble impressively enough—with both changing tone and inflection—that they sound convincingly like they’re talking. And finally, between the age of 1 and 2, children tend to build their vocabulary, learn to put at least two (but sometimes even four) words together, and readily use and repeat words and simple phrases.
If you are interested in reviewing more about language development in babies and young children, I recommend taking a look at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Developmental Milestone Checklist. If you’re also interested in finding out how to actually encourage your baby’s language development, it’s worth emphasizing that the best thing you can do is spend plenty of time talking, singing, reading, and just generally interacting with your baby. I am a particular fan of reading books to babies and toddlers—the more the better—and highly recommend taking a look at the wealth of information that Reach Out and Read has put together for parents on the subject of making books a part of every healthy childhood. <