Unlocking Language: When Do Babies Start Talking and How to Encourage Them

When Do Babies Start Talking? As a special educator and rehabilitator, I can tell you that most babies begin to babble around 4 to 6 months and say their first intentional word around 12 months. By 24 months, toddlers start forming simple sentences.

Key Takeaways

  • Babies typically start babbling around 4-6 months; the first word often emerges by 12 months.
  • Speech progresses with time, leading to simple sentences by 24 months.
  • Encouraging and recognizing developmental milestones is crucial for parents; seeking help when necessary ensures proper language development.

When Do Babies Start Babbling?

Babies babble before they learn to talk. Around 3 months, your baby will start making different sounds which will soon turn into babbling.

What can we expect during the initial stages of the babble?

  • Between 4 to 6 months: They start to make babbling sounds such as “dada” and “baba”. Though these sounds may seem like cute noises, they are actually a crucial workout for the baby’s mouth and vocal cords, which help them develop their speech skills.
  • By 7 months: Babies may start using gestures and body language to accompany their babbling sounds. Hand waves and head shakes are common ways babies communicate at this age.

Boosting your baby’s language skills is easier than you might think. Here are some simple tips to help you out:

  1. Be chatty yourself. Mirror their sounds, then wait for the ‘reply.’
  2. Sing songs and read stories
  3. Name and describe objects. “See the teddy? The cuddly, brown teddy?”

Babbling is an important stepping stone for your child to learn how to speak. Every time your little one says “ga-goo” or “mama,” they are making progress towards understanding their own speech. Additionally, when they see you talking and reacting to them, it encourages them to keep babbling and helps their brain development.

When Do Babies Say Their First Word?

When do you expect your baby to say their first word? A first word is when your baby intentionally uses a sound or a combination of sounds to refer to a specific object or meaning. This is not just babbling, but about intent and recognition. If your baby says “mama” or “dada” with purpose, that’s a significant milestone and an exciting moment for parents.

The time and the first word a baby utters can vary greatly, and depends on many factors like their surroundings and the interaction they receive. Consistently talking to your baby can inspire them to say “hi” back sooner than you think.

Now, let’s talk numbers. On average, most babies will say their first word between 12 to 18 months of age.

Babies learn to talk at different times. Some start at seven months, others start later. Don’t worry if your baby isn’t talking by their first birthday. Some babies like to watch before they talk. Every baby is different and will learn to talk when they’re ready.

Common First Words

As a parent, you might be eagerly waiting for your baby’s first words. Typically, babies begin with simple and easy-to-pronounce words. Here are some of the most common ones that babies tend to start with:

  • “Mama” and “Dada”: Heartwarming titles with repetitive sounds are easy to remember.
  • “Hi” and “Bye”: Greetings! These are polite, short, and sweet, perfect for a baby’s early vocabulary.
  • “No”: A tiny word for a significant opinion, it often pops up as babies assert their independence.
  • “Dog” and “Cat”: Pets are great practice for budding language skills—and they’re adorable topics!

Why these words? As a parent or caregiver, you may find yourself repeating certain sounds to your baby. These sounds are particularly interesting to them and easy for them to understand and repeat. This repetition helps your baby learn and develop their language skills.

So, you’ve heard “dada” a thousand times, what’s next? You can encourage their vocabulary with these quick tips:

  • Keep the conversation flowing by talking to your baby about anything and everything throughout the day.
  • Exaggerate your expressions and enunciate them clearly; it’s entertaining and educational.
  • Bring out those picture books and point to objects as you name them; visuals are fantastic learning aids.

Babies saying their first words, like “mama” or “dada,” is a beautiful moment. The time it takes for a baby to start speaking can depend on many factors, such as their environment and the people they interact with. As a parent, it’s important to listen to your baby and join in their conversations. Remember that all children learn at their own pace and in their own way.

When Do Babies Start Talking?

Have you ever wondered when your baby will start talking? Talking is when your baby uses meaningful and intentional words, not just cute sounds and noises.

Understanding speech and language: Receptive vs. Expressive

Babies need to learn two types of language skills: receptive and expressive. Receptive language skills are about understanding what’s being said to them. Expressive language skills are about using words to communicate back. They first develop receptive language skills, so they’ll understand when you say “bye-bye” long before they can wave goodbye on cue.

Language Development Stages

Let’s break down how your baby’s verbal skills will develop:

  • 4 to 6 months: Your baby will soon start making babbling sounds. This is the first step towards learning how to speak.
  • 7 to 12 months: That babble transforms into something more word-like. You might hear “baba” and feel they’re talking to you!
  • It’s official: around 12 to 18 months, most little ones say their first words.

Here’s a peek into what to expect:

   Age Range Milestones :

  • 4 to 6 months Babbling with consonants (“g,” “k”)  
  • 7 to 12 months Babbling sounds more like speech, understanding gestures  
  • 12 months +  First words, might string two words together  

First Words and Sentences

Most children say their first words when they turn one year old, but some may start earlier. As they learn and grow, they will start using more words that relate to their daily life like “milk,” “dog” or “car.”

Before you know it, they’ll string these together into crude sentences, like “More cookie?” or “Mommy go?” Encouragement is vital—cheer on their attempts, and you’ll have mini-conversations before long.

Every baby develops differently. Some babies take time before they start speaking, while others gradually build up their vocabulary. Engaging in daily conversations and reading with your baby helps foster their language skills.

When Do Babies Talk in Sentences?

When we talk, we use sentences to share our ideas. Sentences are like trains, where each word connects to form a complete thought. As we grow up, we learn how to make sentences that mean something.

Toddlers usually start putting words together to form sentences between the ages of 18 to 24 months. This is based on observations made by child specialists and parents. However, don’t worry if your little one starts talking earlier or later. Each child has their own pace of development and follows their unique timetable.

Let’s break down the timeline, shall we?

  • 12 to 18 months: It’s all about simple words, the building blocks of future sentences.
  • 18 to 24 months: Here come mini-sentences, often two words that pack a punch, like “more cookie” or “bye-bye, mommy.”
  • 24 to 30 months: You’ll likely hear a thrilling three-word masterpiece!

To give you a clearer picture, here are some examples of the sentences you might be eagerly anticipating:

  • “Daddy, go work.”
  • “I want juice.”
  • “Where kitty go?”

If you’re listening to your child while speaking, it’s nice to respond with enthusiasm. You can make it a back-and-forth conversation. For instance, if your child says they want to go out, you could reply with, “Great idea, let’s go! What should we bring with us?”

Remember, the goal is to maintain a fun and engaging conversation.

When Do Babies Start Talking?

Baby Speech Milestones

Did you ever think about how babies start talking? It’s a big deal! They start by making silly sounds and then eventually say their first words. It’s important to know how babies learn to talk so we can help them.

   Important Milestones What You Might See 

  • 0-3 monthsCooing: Your baby will communicate through crying, but those sweet cooing sounds will soon emerge.  
  • 4-6 months – Babbling: Gurgles turn into babbles with sounds like “g,” “k,” “m,” and “p.”  
  •  7-12 monthsMeaningful sounds: They may start using sounds purposely, maybe even saying “mama” or “dada” without knowing the meaning.  
  • 1-2 yearsSimple words: Their vocabulary will rapidly expand. They will learn names for people, objects, and actions at an incredible pace.
  • 2-3 years – Simple sentences: As your toddler grows, they will start putting words together to form phrases. This allows them to express their thoughts and ask questions.

 All children are capable of producing their own language. Some children may learn faster than others, but there’s no need to worry if your child is taking their time. If you’re concerned about your child’s progress, you can talk to a doctor or a speech therapist for reassurance.

Tips for tracking speech bubbles:

  • Listen and respond: Engage in back-and-forth conversation to encourage more speech.
  • Reading together: Reading aloud helps them pick new words.
  • Celebrate babble: Mimic their sounds to show that communication is a two-way street.

How To Teach Baby To Talk

As a parent, you can be your baby’s first language teacher. It’s a wonderful opportunity to turn their adorable coos and babbles into words and start using language.

Encouraging Listening and Responding:

  • Talk to Your Baby: Chat about your day, narrate actions, and describe objects around you. Make it a two-way street; pause for your little one’s responses.
  • Read Together: Bright pictures and simple stories capture attention. Don’t just read the words; point to pictures and ask, “Where’s the doggy?”
  • Sing and Play: Songs with actions (like “Itsy Bitsy Spider”) encourage mimicking sounds and gestures.

Building Vocabulary with Simple Words:

  • Name objects and people they see daily.
  • Celebrate using simple words; even an attempt at “mama” or “dada” deserves a cheer.

Understanding Cries and Gestures:

  • Over time, you’ll decode cries and know whether they signal hunger or tiredness.
  • Acknowledge gestures and gently correct with words, “You want the ball? Say ‘ball’.”

Activities to Foster Speech:

  1. Imitation Games: Smile back, use your tongue, and make funny sounds together.
  2. Peek-a-Boo: This classic game teaches turn-taking, an essential communication skill.
  3. Naming Body Parts: Touch their nose, say “nose,” and see if they can copy you.

Positive Reinforcement Tips:

  • Always smile and maintain eye contact to affirm their efforts.
  • Applaud attempts at words; this positive feedback encourages more practice.

What To Do If Your Baby Isn’t Talking

If your child is not talking yet, you may feel worried. However, please don’t panic. Every child grows differently, and there are ways to help your child progress. Your child is unique, and by providing a supportive environment, you can help them with their development.

Possible Causes

Sometimes children have difficulty speaking and there could be many reasons for this. For example, they might not be able to hear properly, or there could be other factors that are causing the delay. You can check if your child is having trouble by observing if they are not making speech sounds or seem unresponsive to sound. It’s important to investigate the cause of speech delays and look for clues in order to find a solution.

Seek Help Early

It’s important to act early! If your child doesn’t say “mama” or “dada” by their first birthday or doesn’t use a variety of sounds by 18 months, it may be a good idea to speak with a professional. Early intervention can make a big difference!The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) suggests keeping an ear out for babbling and watching for a steady increase in word pick-up.

Evaluation and Treatment

When you talk to a doctor who knows a lot about speech, they will help your child with their speaking. They will give your child special exercises to help them speak better. That way, your child can talk smoother and sound better.

Are you feeling lost and overwhelmed? The Early Intervention Program in your state could be the help you need. They can offer therapy for your family without breaking the bank. They’re your partners in navigating these challenging times.

You know your baby the best. If you feel like something is not right, trust yourself and ask for help. Learning to talk is different for every baby, and it needs love and support.

Final Thoughts

Babies develop at their own pace, reaching different milestones, from cooing and babbling in their first months to using words and forming phrases by their second year. Every child’s journey is unique, with early signs of communication appearing as smiles and coos, progressing to babbling and forming their first words and sentences. Some babies may start talking early, while others may take their time to observe quietly before suddenly surprising you with complete sentences.

Engaging with your baby through reading and talking is essential, as this interaction plays a crucial role in their language development.

If you ever have concerns about your child’s development, don’t hesitate to consult with a pediatrician, who can provide guidance and support tailored to your baby’s needs.

Interested in learning more? Dive into our comprehensive guide on child development to ensure your baby’s language skills develop beautifully.

Frequently Asked Questions: When Do Babies Start Talking

When do babies typically start talking?

Baby start talking varies, but most babies start saying their first words between 10 and 18 months. Some may start talking as early as 9 months, while others may not speak until they are older. It’s important to note that each baby may develop language skills at a unique pace. By the age of 2, most toddlers can speak in short sentences.

How can I encourage my baby to talk?

To help your baby learn to talk, engage in conversations with them, mimic their babble, introduce simple words, read to them, and respond to their verbal attempts. A language-rich environment and showing enthusiasm for their communication attempts can facilitate speech development.

What are some speech milestones for babies?

By 12 months, most babies will start to babble and try to imitate simple sounds. At around 15 months, they may begin using single words; by 18 months, they might be able to say a few simple words together. By age 2, they should start to form simple sentences.

Should I be concerned if my baby is not talking by 18 months?

Suppose your baby has not started to talk or understand words by 18 months. In that case, it’s essential to consult a pediatrician to rule out potential speech delays or underlying issues impacting their speech development. Early intervention can be crucial in addressing any concerns.

Are there any specific techniques to teach my baby to talk?

Teaching your baby to talk involves exposing them to language through conversation, reading, and singing. Please encourage them to repeat simple words and use gestures to reinforce meanings. If applicable, creating a bilingual environment can also facilitate linguistic development.


I'm Andjela Antic, co-founder of DreamBabyGear. I have a degree in special education and rehabilitation from the medical faculty, and I've been a registered nurse since high school. Using my medical and education background, I understand child development well. I choose high-quality baby gear carefully to support the best development and well-being of children.
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