Look who's talking: When should your baby start talking? 


Parents look forward to their kids saying their first words, eagerly listening for that first "Mama" or "Dada" or even something random. If you have friends telling you that their child had already started to chatter at a certain age, you may start to wonder if your child will ever talk.

»RELATED: Babies understand what words mean before they can even talk, study says

You'll likely be begging for a moment of peace and quiet soon enough. Until then, here are some answers to frequently asked questions about when your child should start talking:

When do most kids start to talk?

Those first sounds represent your child's attempts to interact with her environment, and it will soon become her most powerful tool, according to Parents. From pointing out a specific thing, like a dog, to protesting with the all-too-common "No!" your child will probably start forming words at around 12 months (or as early as nine months).

And although you may interpret what sounds like "Mama" or "Dada" earlier - at around four to six months - your child isn't really connecting those words with you until he's about a year old. Feel free to brag about your child's first word referring to you though!

You'll probably hear only four to six words for a little while, but once your child is around 18 months old, his vocabulary will grow to about 50 words.

Why isn't your child talking yet?

As with other milestones - such as walking - some kids just naturally talk later than others, WebMD says. Girls are likely to develop language at a faster rate than boys do.

In most cases, there's nothing to worry about if your child isn't talking as soon as some other kids who are the same age. This is especially true if your child doesn't use a lot of words but seems to understand what you're saying and can follow commands.

More children are now starting to talk later, which is probably linked to the fact that they spend more time in child-care settings than in past generations. Exposure to illnesses that cause problems such as chronic ear infections can also contribute to speech delays.

»RELATED: Babies learn to please people at a young age, study shows 

When should you get help?

You may have cause for concern if your baby doesn't babble consonant sounds in her first year. She should also start to imitate sounds that you make.

If you have concerns, talk to your pediatrician or a speech-language pathologist, whose services may be available free or at a low cost because of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). If a hearing problem is suspected, an audiologist should be consulted.

How can you help your child's language skills develop?

The following tips can help encourage and develop your child's ability to talk:

  • Keep talking: Talk to your child as much as possible, since the more words she hears, the better. Try giving a running commentary on what you're doing and seeing throughout the day. Watch your language, though, because you just might hear that word you use for a driver who cuts you off repeated in a young voice from the back seat!
  • Share language-oriented activities: Read to your child, sing a song or have a "conversation" with him. Even if he's not talking yet, allow for a response when you're talking to him, and encourage any effort.
  • Praise successes: Making speech fun and rewarding. As your child says new words and phrases, clap and celebrate the accomplishment.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Health

CHEERS! The Dayton Art Institute Oktoberfest mugs are a coveted collectible
CHEERS! The Dayton Art Institute Oktoberfest mugs are a coveted collectible

Handcrafted mugs created by regional potters have been a sought-after collectible since Oktoberfest at the Dayton Art Institute began in the 1970s.  The earliest mug in the DAI’s collection, from 1974, is made from glass and features a printed DAI logo. In the years following the mugs were mass produced until the idea to use local potters...
What cats see when they look in the mirror
What cats see when they look in the mirror

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all? Abby, our 16-year old cat, thinks she is. When Abby could no longer jump up on the kitchen counter to eat from her bowl, we searched for a place she could easily reach but Teddy, our Lab, could not. We placed the queen bee’s bowl in front of a large mirror on the master bathroom&rsquo...
Are household disinfectants making kids overweight? Study finds possible link
Are household disinfectants making kids overweight? Study finds possible link

Obesity affects nearly 1 in 6 children in the United States, according to new data from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s State of Obesity report. And new findings from the Canadian Medical Association Journal reveal there may be more contributing to that stat than overeating. Overweight children are approximately five times more...
Seven-Day Menu Planner
Seven-Day Menu Planner

9/23 Family Sunday Enjoy family day with your own Roast Chicken (5 to 7 pounds), mashed potatoes, gravy, peas with pearl onions (from frozen) and mixed greens. For dessert, drizzle creme fraiche or half-and-half over bread pudding. Plan ahead: Save...
Chrissy Teigen says we've been mispronouncing her name this whole time
Chrissy Teigen says we've been mispronouncing her name this whole time

You've probably been pronouncing Chrissy Teigen's last name wrong. We're just as shocked as you are. In a video posted on Teigen's Twitter last night, she dropped the wild news: "I'm tired of living this lie: it's 'Tie-gen,' " she says. "Isn't it, Mom?"          ...
More Stories