There are many iconic moments during the early months of your baby’s life, but the one which seems to give parents most joy is when they say their first words. They finally realize they are able to communicate and interact with them in a practical way. But when should this moment happen? After six months, nine months, twelve months, eighteen months? When do babies talk for the first time?
It’s important to understand that babies differ in their development and their progress should not be compared to other siblings or other children. One of your children may talk earlier than another, but then they might not be as quick on their feet. The important thing is not to panic and to allow your baby to grow and mature naturally and in their own time.
You can progress your baby’s development, but here are some things you can look out for.
After 4-5 weeks, you may notice your baby making little gargling sounds like “ooh” or “aah”, which are distinct from crying. By the end of the fourth month, they might be monosyllabic, as they say “da” or “ba” for no particular reason.
By twelve months, they may be able to say your name, i.e. mama or dada, and will understand you are referring to them when you mention their name.
But it really won’t be until after 18 months that you will start to see some real progression; from here they will really start to develop their vocabulary and will be able to identify ordinary, everyday items such as shoes, socks, cups or plates.
The child might have as much as up to 50 words in their vocabulary before they reach 24 months, but they should be keen to learn more words daily, asking you to identify certain objects for them.
After 24 months, the child should be looking to put some structure to these words, i.e. be able to form simple sentences and questions. They’ll be able to refer to themselves as “I” and other people as “you”. By the age of three, they might have as much as three hundred words.
By the age of four, they should be able to tell you about their day and answer simple questions that you pose for them.
Don’t read too much into when they start to talk however. Some gifted children were slow to talk as babies, but showed strong development thereafter. If the proper groundwork is done, they will prosper from it once they start talking.
So if you are wonder when do babies talk for the first time, then the answer is “who knows, every child is different”. Keep them motivated to learn without force in these early months and years.