If your baby’s up and about, crawling on all fours and sitting upright, then no doubt you’ve also been patiently waiting to hear some first words! It’s at about ten months of age that babies tend to say their first word, or words - as the case may be. Now just in case you haven’t heard mommy’s be warned (!), a baby’s first word is almost always ‘dad-a’! This is due to the way a baby learns how to have control of their lips, lungs and vocal chords, and how to work them simultaneously to produce distinctive sounds at will. The word ‘mom-a’ won’t be too far away, and from here the words tend to roll, slowly but surely!
Aside from actual words, psychologists believe there are other signs your baby will use to communicate to you that they’re almost ready to start talking.
Understanding what you say
A very important (and exciting!) sign that your baby will be talking shortly is that you’ll notice she’ll start to understand more and more of what you say. Soon your baby will start to understand the names of close family members and pets. The words of baby, shoe, juice and cookie are probably understood by now, or will be in the not too distant future.
You may have experienced your baby starting to wave ‘bye-bye’, and this shows that your baby can now understand and even follow simple instructions. Around this time your baby will also start to learn a few easy words grouped together, such as ‘stop that’ and ‘kiss me’. Once this happens, you’re well on the way to hearing your baby start to speak. It won’t be too long now!
Another critical sign that your baby is so very close to speaking, is that she babbles away to herself and others. Your baby will babble just as if talking in sentences and it will sound like a ‘proper’ conversation, but will still not yet make any sense! Your little one will imitate adult speech patterns, facial expressions and tone of voice and this shows that your baby is very, very close to speaking. The best way to encourage your baby from here is for you to keep on talking! As your little one continues to try to imitate you, their understanding of language and speech will increase through your facial expressions and body language.
By repeating the names of familiar objects and describing what you’re doing to your baby throughout your day, you’ll encourage their understanding of language to develop, and it won’t be too long before your little one is joining in the conversation – for real this time!