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Ages & Stages: Talking

2 or 3 yrs old boy holding up a cell phone to his ear and smiling.

There are so many opportunities to talk with little ones all day long as they grow.

Newborns to 3-month-olds may:

  • tell one person’s voice from another’s
  • tell speech from other sounds
  • begin to remember things

So you can: Talk to baby a lot! Look her in the eye. Enjoy her responses: a waving arm, a smile, kicking legs, and so on. Talk back using words (“What a strong arm!” “Thanks for that sweet smile!”).

3-to-6-month-olds may:

  • copy sounds and movements
  • turn toward a parent or caregiver’s voice
  • make their own sounds

So you can: Talk during meal times. A newborn’s cry to be fed is the beginning of communication and conversation! Babbles and coos are his language as he plays with sound. As you make sounds back at him, he will slowly begin to imitate them.

6-to-9-month-olds may:

  • copy or say the same sounds over and over, and say mama and dada
  • know the names of people and things
  • clap and use their bodies to speak with others

So you can: Fill everyday routines with talk. Build vocabulary by describing what you’re doing (“One sock…two socks. Now we can put on your shoes.”).

9- to-12-month-olds may:

  • communicate by babbling or pointing
  • understand more words and commands
  • respond to their own name and connect the names of others

So you can: Acknowledge “nonsense” words, such as ba ba or ma ma, by repeating them or extending the idea (“Yes, ba, ba. Baa, baa black sheep!”).