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What to Expect When Your Baby Starts Talking

What To Expect When Your Baby Starts Talking - Parents Canada

From the pages of the Baby & Child Care Encyclopedia: Chapter 3, Starting Solids and the Toddler Years


uch like taking those first steps, kids will say their first words in their own time. That first sweet, intelligible word will likely show up between nine and 12 months, with a few more words to follow in the months after. By 18 months, most kids have 15 to 20 words, and will put together two-word sentences by age two.

While babies will utter that first “Mama,” “Dada” or “no” (a toddler favourite!) when they’re ready, there are easy, everyday ways to encourage speech:

  • Talk to them! It might seem like a no-brainer, but it really is a game-changer for motivating kids to speak. From day one, talk to them, with eye contact, and respond to their reactions. Reacting to a smile or giggle will actually encourage further communication.
  • Talk to other people in front of them. Your child will pick up communication cues from watching you speak to other people.
  • Read to your child as often as possible. Stop on each page to describe the pictures.
  • Name objects, body parts and things you see in nature as often as you can by pointing to the item and saying the word out loud. This repetitive habit will eventually pay off!

WHEN A LATE TALKER IS CAUSE FOR CONCERN  Consult your doctor if your toddler doesn’t say any words by 18 months, does not follow commands by 18 months, does not link words for short statements and sentences by 24 months, if speech is too unclear to understand or if there is no understanding or interest in what you say. 

Read more from the Baby & Child Care Encyclopedia.

Bcce cover

      1. Prenatal 101
      2. Breastfeeding and the First Three Months
      3. Starting Solids and the Toddler Years
      4. An Age-by-Age Guide to Sleep
      5. Family Nutrition
      6. Kids and Mental Health
      7. When Your Child is Sick
      8. Safety and First Aid
      9. Milestones, Checklists and Charts

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