Learning to talk begins at birth, when your baby is experiencing how voices sound.
Two magic words that are music to parent's ears, are "mama and dada." For parents these two little words represent their child's first steps to learning how to talk. These are the first of many milestones in a child's language development.
Below are some of the significant stepping stones that will lead up to the day when your child will actually be able to talk (and talk back!) to you.
- Newborn: Crying is really going to be your newborn’s primary form of vocalization. While crying is admittedly less than perfect in conveying what babies want or need, it’s definitely a start.
- 8 weeks: Cooing and babbling begins. These crowd-pleasing skills will symbolize your baby’s first more formal attempts to vocalize, soon to be followed by actual consonants and vowels.
- 6 to 8 months: Your baby will happily use his voice for making sounds and even some more elaborate streams of babble, but no words yet. The much-anticipated “mama” and “dada” are sure to surface—albeit arbitrarily mixed in with other sounds and, we should note, with “dada” typically being uttered first if only because it’s easier for babies to say (ie, with no implications of parental preference!).
- 1 year: By a year, be prepared to celebrate not only your baby’s first birthday, but also the long-awaited “mama” and “dada,” now being used intentionally to refer to you! You can also anticipate hearing some simple exclamations like “uh-oh,” as well as a few single words. And while there’s sure to be plenty of animated babbling and attempts to imitate words, don’t expect your baby’s self-expression to string together into full sentences just yet.
- 18 months: Your ears will likely be graced with the sounds of at least several stand-alone words. Your toddler may even be able to put 2 words together—such as “all done”—in order to more meaningfully convey his wishes. Rest assured, however, that your toddler understands far more words than he can speak.
- 2 years: Now we’re talking…as in 2- to 4-word sentences and the start of real conversation (along with a whole lot of repetition). Before long, you’ll have a hard time remembering the sounds of your newborn’s silence!
To follow your child's development in communication, and other milestones of child development you can fill out and Ages and Stages Questionnaire online.