Once your baby reaches a certain stage you’ll become desperate to know when his/her first words will be muttered. We hold on with baited breath at every coo, praying that it’ll become a fully formed word or phrase. Of course, the parenting battle is strong at this point with Mummy hoping for ‘Mamamama’ to be baby’s first word and Daddy secretly praying for that ‘Dada’ moment, the stakes are high but unfortunately, there is no predicting.
Like all of your child’s milestones, we cannot predict what or when those first words will come, but we can give you rough estimates for all of your first word questions.
How Can I encourage my baby to talk?
– Make Conversation
This might feel a little unnatural but if your tot looks at you and utters “lalala” respond to that with “what are you singing lala?” – this will help your little one to develop an understanding of conversation.
– Put a Name on it
Give everything a name, when you reach for a soft toy say “Here is Pablo the Panda” or when you’re about to feed your baby say “this is Harry’s fork” – this will help your child to identify objects with words.
– Little Bookworm
Reading a book about shapes to a baby who doesn’t understand can feel like a thankless (and boring) task. But, reading will help to develop a wider vocabulary and encourage your little one to become a bookworm when they grow up!
When will I hear those First Words?
– Happy 1st Birthday
Usually, a child says their first words around the time they turn a year old, if your little one reaches that stage earlier or later that is absolutely fine.
– Copy Cat
Your little one’s words won’t be pronounced perfectly but he/she will start trying to repeat what you are saying. You might hear Mummy as “Mumma”, Yellow as “Lello” and spaghetti as “Geddy” to name a few…
– Little Animals
Children find pronouncing vowels far easier than consonants, so animal words like “moo”, “baa” and “neigh” are great for encouraging new words.
How do I encourage more complex sentences?
– Happy 2nd Birthday
At about age 2, you’ll start to hear more complex sentences from your child, rather than just the odd words. Like first words, this can come earlier or later, try not to worry too much.
– Don’t Correct
Rather than correcting your little one when they get a sentence structure wrong, repeat what they said but with the correct grammar. So, if they say “ Me want a drink” you would repeat “I’d like a drink too, please” This is a far more positive learning technique for your child, that’ll help them to keep hearing correct sentence structures.
– Story Time
You can encourage sentences by asking your little one to tell you about their day, or a trip you took. This is great for not only letting them think about the words they need to use but also how to engage in conversations.
– Give Them Time
We’re so used to instant conversations that when you have a child it is easy to try and finish their sentences for them. Don’t do this, give your child time to think about what words come next, learning a new skill takes time so let them perfect this craft slowly and at their own speed, without always giving them the answers.