From 0 To 3: Everything You Need To Know About A Child's Speech Development And What To Pay Attention To

Date September 21, 2018

Children start to speak at different ages - it depends on genetics, environment, and parental nurture. You shouldn't worry if your kid starts a bit slower than others. But you should monitor your child's development.

Babies start expressing thoughts at 2. But you should make sure your child has normal hearing, and can understand primary information such as shapes, colors, parts of the body, etc. By the time they are 2.5 years old, their vocabulary should already include up to 50 words. The following information will help you understand if you're doing everything right.

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0-12 months old

Unintelligible sounds are the initial stage in the formation of speech. Even if you think the baby doesn’t understand anything, speaking to your baby is critical.

1. Crying

Early on, this is the only way children can express discomfort or specific needs. Later, they realize they can draw attention in this way, and use it to communicate.

2. Cooing

Between 2 to 6 months old, children start to practice sound combinations. It is important to encourage them and teach new combinations and intonations, maintain eye contact and not leave any “phrase” unanswered.

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3. Babbling

At 6-7 months, children begin to utter independent syllables – first separately, and then in sequences, turning them into long “language” chunks. You should teach them how to position their lips, read nursery rhymes and sing songs to them, and speak to them often.

4. Words

If you train your baby’s lips and cheeks properly, then by 11-12 months old they will be able to say their first words. They should be able to identify objects - it's important to read aloud to them, tell them what is happening, and describe simple actions. Blowing soap bubbles is considered to be good training for mouth muscles. Speaking toys are another effective tool for speech development.

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1-2 years old

After the first birthday, children already understand a lot, but can’t express their thoughts yet. By a year and a half, they can already speak to parents, reproduce some words, and even name objects. Babies start to point at new things and utter random stuff. Make sure you encourage their curiosity. 

1. Communicate with your child

At this stage, it's important to make the most of your baby’s interests and explain as much as possible. Tactile contact speeds up the process of remembering new words. When looking at drawings in children's books it is recommended to establish connections with examples from your baby’s life.

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2. Give them exposure 

Babies need to learn about different types of objects so they don't generalize. You can do this by exposing your baby to new things frequently.

3. Repeat nursery rhymes

Babies need nursery rhymes to learn about the world around them.

4. Introduce new sentences

Parents should teach their kids phrases around 2 years old.

5. Play games with them

Games help children develop their vocabulary. They begin to pay attention to their own and other people's actions, recreate scenes with toys, and comment.

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6. Develop their motor skills

Fine motor skills also affect speech. You can use specialized toys and invent your own games to help your child in this aspect.

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2-3 years old

At this age, your child should be able to articulate more complex things. Help them develop using these tips.

Especially useful are games aimed at the development of:

  • fine motor skills;
  • vocal projection;
  • listening;
  • proper breathing.

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To develop your child's communication skills, try the following methods:

  • talk about yourself - describe actions slowly in short sentences, ask questions, and answer them aloud;
  • speak about your child - comment on what they are doing and why, and what will happen;
  • pretend that you don’t understand and motivate them to choose the right words;
  • add to their speech - repeat their phrase with more adjectives;
  • use appropriate songs.

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What are some signs of trouble?

Consult a specialist if:

  • by the 12 months old your baby does not respond to your voice;
  • by age of 2 your baby doesn’t recognize or perceive the information they have been taught (shapes, colors, body parts, familiar animals), or refuses to interact with other children;
  • by age of 3 your child struggles to make coherent sentences.

What you do for your baby matters! Do you have any other tips? Share them in the comments!

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This article is solely for informational purposes. Do not self-diagnose or self-medicate, and in all cases consult a certified healthcare professional before using any information presented in the article. The editorial board does not guarantee any results and does not bear any responsibility for any harm that may result from using the information provided in the article.