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Tips For Language Development

by Katie Hodgkins

Tips For Baby Language Development

Babies learn so much from their parents; the development of speech and language being one of the most important!

This guide will look at ways that we can help our babies maximise their learning and development of language skills!

When should my baby be talking?

Remember, this isn’t one size fits all and all babies are different.

A baby starts to understand basic language at around 3 months old, and from here they will continue to learn and remember! A baby should typically say their first word at around 12 months old.

Between 12 and 18 months of age, a baby can start to use different tones and inflections to indicate that they want something or are happy/unhappy.

By the age of 2, your baby will typically be stringing 2-4 words together in order to say small sentences.

By 3, your now toddler should now be able to hold and sustain a conversation.

Ways we can encourage speech & language development…

Talk and sing to your baby at every opportunity. Your baby LOVES your voice; after all, they grew in your tummy listening to your dulcet tones! You are their favourite singer, favourite motivational speaker, favourite joker, the first voice they ever knew. They learn and remember the different tones of our speech, the different phonemes, and upward/downward inflections. This is such simple, fun and easy way to encourage language acquisition!

Games! You can teach basic instructions and questions through games; “where is baby? There he is! Boo! Pass me the toy please! Ta!” Learning through repetition of phrases and fun is simple and engaging. As your little one grows and learns, you can increase the complexity of your instructions and games.

Story time; you can read to your baby to your hearts content even if you don’t think they understand – they will still memorise your voice, and will dream of your soothing tones if you read them a bedtime story.

Keep an eye on their hearing! The ability to hear properly is so important for language development, if you suspect any hearing issues or ear infections seek help immediately.

• As your baby grows into a toddler and then into a child, increase the number of conversations you initiate. Rather than speaking ‘at‘ the child, once they are able to reply it is good to hold as many conversations as you can. Any topic, any time! Your child will love that you want to speak to them and this will be a huge confidence boost.

• Kids are now taught phonetics at school in the U.K. which is great! You can get a head start by shopping around for phonetics resources to do at home.


I found the following resources really informative and useful;

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) free resources progress checker

Mommy Speech Therapy

NHS – Helping your baby to speak

Johns Hopkins

I hope that these tips helped!

If you have any concerns about your child’s language development or speech, speak to your Health Visitor, GP, or even your child’s nursery/preschool as they can refer you to the best source of help.

Be patient, don’t rush or get exasperated if progress isn’t as fast as you’d expected, and have fun.

Love from Katie! xx


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