Are you anxiously waiting for your baby to say their precious first few words? This is such a milestone for new and experienced parents.
Hearing that ma ma ma or da da da is enough to mealt any parents heart. I know it melted mine for all three of my babies!
According to research, most children say first words like mama, dada, this, and here somewhere between 18 months and 2 years of age. However, it’s important to remember that not every child will say their first word at the same time or even in the same place.
The age that a child says their first word may not always be accurate or reliable when it comes to predicting how soon they might start talking. Even if your little one does end up saying their first word within this timeframe, you don’t want to get too excited just yet.
Why? Well, there are so many factors that can impact when a child starts talking. Some of these can also change over time instead of remaining fixed at a particular point in time.
For example, your baby might develop language skills more quickly the more time you spend communicating with them, playing games like peek a boo, and reading to them. Here are some great toddler bedtime books to get started.
But when does baby speech develop?
Your baby’s brain starts to develop around the time of birth. Maturation of the brain continues throughout childhood and adolescence.
This process is called “brain development,” and it continues to happen throughout your child’s entire life span. Mental development, otherwise known as “brain development,” centers around speech development and language acquisition.
Did you know your child’s speech and language skills don’t finish developing until age 14?
When do babies say mama” and mean it?
Oh the sweet moment you finally hear your baby say mama! It makes those laborous months of pregnancy and childbirth all worth it.
Babies begin to develop the ability to understand and produce language from around their first birth month. This means that, from the moment your baby was born, he or she was able to understand and produce sounds and syllables.
At around 7 months old, babies start to show signs that they’re starting to develop language. They may start imitating sounds or naming objects, or they may even start babbling incoherently.
At around 9 months old, your baby will have begun to associate sounds with meanings. This is when your baby will begin to say words like “mama” and “dada” to indicate who he or she is responding to.
By around 15 months old, your baby will have a much better vocabulary and will be able to understand and produce more complex phrases and sentences. In addition to mama and dada, your baby will start to use more sophisticated terms like “milk,” “banana,” “want,” and “bye-bye.”
What is the earliest first word?
Although most children say their first word somewhere between 18 months and 2 years of age, this is not something that you need to be worried about.
Many children start saying words much earlier than their “official” first word. Researchers at Stanford University of California have found that most children start using language at around 18 months old.
However, most children don’t start using language until about 2 years old. So, if your child doesn’t start talking until they’re three years old, don’t worry that they’re saying their first word too late.
How to Help Your Child Develop Speech
You don’t need to rush your child into starting to talk. Instead, try to develop speech and language skills while your child is still too young to notice what you’re doing.
Give your child plenty of opportunities to practice specific speech and language skills. For example, encourage your child to talk and use more than one word while they’re playing with toys, while they’re eating snacks, while they’re taking a nap, and while they’re drinking water.
Find opportunities to communicate to your baby at the grocery store, while playing, in the car. Even if they don’t understand you they do listen and learn from what you say.
Tips for Encouraging Toddlers to Talk More
There are so many ways to help your toddlers talk more. here are some things to try daily at home and on the go.
- Try to develop a positive attitude about encouraging your child to talk. If you approach this from the mindset that your child should be talking more, then he or she will have no choice but to end up talking more often.
- Make speech and language development part of your child’s daily routine. For example, if your child is eating their breakfast, encourage them to talk while they eat by asking them to tell you what they’re eating.
- Make sure that your child gets plenty of sleep. Research shows that when a child gets enough sleep, they tend to be a lot more talkative than when they’re tired.
- Try to find opportunities to encourage your child to talk. Ask them about things they are doing, things they see, or things you notice like the sound of a train going by or birds chirping.
3 Important Factors That Can Impact When a Child Says Their First Word
There are many things that can influence when a child says their first word, including your child’s gender, your child’s environment, and your child’s specific language development.
Everyone says girls talk more than boys and as a mom with 2 boys and 1 girl I can tell you from personal experience that my girl was lightyears ahead of her brothers in the conversation department.
The truth is there is no one factor that determines when your child says their first word, but if you take note of what these are, you can try to help guide your child towards saying their first word at an earlier age:
- Your child’s gender – Girls tend to say their first words earlier than boys.
- Your child’s environment – Your child’s environment can affect when they will start to talk. For example, if your baby is surrounded by older siblings or other kids, it will encourage them to say words sooner than if they were the only child in the room without any other distractions.
- Your child’s language development – Your child’s language development can also play a role in when your child says their first word. For example, if your child has trouble using the past tense, they may feel frustrated and stop trying to use the past tense altogether.
What’s Causing Your Child to Be Afraid to Talk?
If your child is too young to talk, it could be due to developmental issues with language such as a speech impediment, autism, anxiety, or a hearing impairment. It may even be that your child is simply afraid to talk!
Children who are afraid to talk may feel embarrassed by their parents, siblings, or classmates. If your child is afraid to talk, take the time to reassure them that they don’t have to talk if they don’t want to.
Explain to your child that you can still read to them even if they don’t want to speak. Try to help your child feel as comfortable as possible in social situations.
If you are worried about your child’s language development it’s always a good idea to communicate this with their pediatrician, daycare professionals, or teacher at school. They will be able to provide you with explanations and solutions to help your child progress.