When Do Babies Start Talking

Parents wait for the day their baby tries to pronounce gibberish words. The amount of joy they feel is nothing compared any other worldly achievements. It takes a lot of observation and body language learning of the bay to understand the baby’s needs as their only mode of communication is crying. The day they start speaking even using a few words, it’s like a huge milestone achieved in this lifetime by the parents.

Babies start talking in between 9 months to 12 months of age which are not that clear but they try to speak. Listen closely to the baby’s coos and sweet voices as you never know when they transform into small words like ‘ma-ma’. This happens when the baby is in the 8th month, they do not understand the meaning but just sing along with the flow of words. Parents often miss the first words as they don’t pay close attention but stay sure that the baby’s try to pronounce words mostly during 7th or 8th month.

How to get your baby talking?

Daily speaking with the baby from when they are infant, helps a lot in making them talk. Speaking frequent words around the baby is like singing a continuous rhythm everyday which stucks in mind either consciously or unconsciously somewhere. The repeated words are jumbled up in the baby’s head, at first he does not understand the meaning behind those words but with the passage of time he tries to grab on certain words like his name. Baby’s often start understanding some words when they enter their 6th month.

Tips to encourage

There are few ways to encourage the baby to talk;

  • Talk to them daily.
  • Read them books or something for young minds.
  • Try to name a few items of their interest.
  • Try to speak in baby voice and give positive reactions.
  • Use of names like ‘mama’ or ‘papa’.
  • Repeat words slowly and carefully.

Play ideas to encourage talking

  • Peek-a-boo: This word ‘peek-a-boo’ is catchy which is why babies often try to mimic the way it is pronounced. Playing the game of hide and seek, use ‘peek-a-boo’ when you pop out, babies enjoy this game and hence try to copy the same action along with mimicking the word.
  • Bubble pop: Bubble wrap is something fascinating even to adults so just imagine how much your baby would love to ‘pop’ those bubbles. Make ‘pop’ sounds to make it livelier, the baby will try to copy the word after hearing it excessively.
  • Clapping: Clapping your hands in front of the baby or sit behind them and move their hands in clap position, make sounds like ‘clap, clap’ when you bring their hands together. This way they will add another word into their brain’s memory.
  • Listening: Babies listen to every word that is spoken around them. They try to learn and grab onto certain words after frequently hearing it. it is really important to speak to your baby regularly and also try to answer them when they make talk in their gibberish baby voice because that is their way of communicating with you.
  • Lullabies: Lullabies or poems when sung to the child repeatedly then at some interval they try to hum along with the tune and in no time, some of the words follow as well.   

How to tell if your child is a late talker?

If the baby surpasses the age limit of 18 months without talking then they are considered late talkers. It does not mean that the baby has speech problem, usually it just means that the baby is slow to capture word pronunciation skill despite having well developed; motor skills, thinking ability, social skills and playing skills. They just have limited vocabulary according to their age.


  • By the age of 12 months – the baby is not using hand gestures for pointing or waving.
  • By the age of 18 months – the child cannot use minimum of 20 words. They use hand gestures rather than vocalizing or imitating due to not learning to pronounce the words properly.
  • By the age of 48 months – the baby can imitate word pronunciation but cannot use it spontaneously.


  • Vocal cord issue – if vocal cords are slightly damaged by birth or the muscles of throat are effected then the child might have talking problem.
  • Oral issue – tongue or palate problem
  • Frenulum – it limits the movement of tongue therefore any issue in frenulum can lead to talking issue.
  • Hearing issue – due to ear infections or some other problems
  • Communication – some babies do not follow up their parents when they imitate certain words henceforth, they cannot understand those words properly.

What to do about it

  • First task is to bring the child to a pathologist or speech therapist.
  • Also bring the child to an ENT specialist in case the child has some hearing problem due to inner ear infection.
  • Try to look for signs of annoyance in the baby when you try to use play methods.
  • Change your approach if certain things are not making them develop their interest in learning.
  • Mouth out the words slowly and carefully.

How does speech develop over time

First form of communication that the babies develop is crying which transforms into babbling and then finally into proper speech. This takes some time but every step of transformation is magical for the parents. The general pattern of speech development is described with age;

  • 1 to 3 months – Crying
  • 4 to 6 months – Cooing and other baby sounds
  • 6 to 9 months – Babbling and gibberish tone
  • 12 months (or 1 year) – babies learn to pronounce words but their first words are unclear
  • 18 to 48 months – babies can use minimum of 20 words while maximum of 50 words.
  • 48 to 60 months – babies develop their words into small sentences which hardly consists of 4 to 5 words. Those words are pretty much understandable to get the meaning behind the baby’s broken sentence.
  • 60 to 84 months (or 3 to 5 years) – they develop their broken sentences into long sentences and can withhold longer conversations as well.
  • 5 years – maximum vocabulary words usage at this age is approximately 2,500 when a child starts speaking clearly.

How parents help with speech development

  • Repetition of daily activities in verbal form.
  • Gaming methods
  • Book reading with pictures in it – to enhance their sight and hearing senses
  • Speaking slowly and deliberately
  • Do not pressurize the baby into learning
  • TV time under the supervision of parents
  • Letting the child talk in their own gibberish tone, encourage the child with positive response.
  • Do not use criticizing words.
  • Answer to their questions again and again until they stop asking.

Importance of speaking mother tongue around kids

Mother language plays crucial role in the children’s life when they grow up. Some of the important facts of mother language includes;

  • Cognitive skills – Mother Language not only enhances the intellectual learning ability but also proves beneficial for cognitive skills development. Educating children in their mother language is highly understandable as they can grab on the words quickly.
  • Cultural benefits – As English is made a standard language in the society, therefore, having a mother language not only gives you the privacy of speaking but also keeps the cultural value of the language, alive.
  • Language learning – Mother Language makes it easier to learn other languages. Learning the mother tongue makes the child quick witted to pick up on other languages
  • An effective tool of leaning – It is a prideful moments when the child meets someone who shares the same language that they have learned in their childhood. It makes a positive influence on their personality also influencing their medium of education in the better way.
  • Marketing skills – Sometimes people deal with non-professionals who speak in different languages but not the common or standard ones. Mother languages gives the benefit of having the upper hand to the grown-ups in situations like these. They know how to tackle the commercial organization’s people who share the same language as them. Gives them benefit in the local market where a single standard means of communication is not workable at all times.

Final words

The pace of speech development in children will develop on their own time according to the child’s proficiency to learn and grab on new surroundings. Parents worry for a valid reason when their child does not start talking according to their age requirement but try not to agitate too much as the child senses the vibes surrounding them which might upset them further. IF you think that your child has some serious issues and their age limit has surpassed the normal talking age requirement then bring them to a speech therapist or the child’s doctor as they can brief you about the child’s condition of late-bloomer and what steps to use against it.

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