How to Grow Your Baby’s Language Skills: First Year

Grow Your Child's Language Skills
Image via Mindi Stavish

Believe it or not, your child begins developing receptive (understanding) and expressive (talking) language skills right after birth. Children will progress through specific babbling stages leading up to their first word, which typically occurs around their first birthday. Just like any other developmental milestone, children develop speech and language skills in a predictable manner, yet each child differs greatly.  

{ MORE: How to Recognize Early Signs of Speech and Language Delays }

First Year Language Milestones 

Source: American Speech-Hearing Language Association

0 to 3 months

Receptive

  • Startles in response to loud sounds
  • Quiets when spoken to
  • Increases or decreases sucking in response to sound

 Expressive

  • Makes cooing and gooing sounds when content
  • Different cries for different needs
  • Emerging smile in response to sight of caregiver

{ MORE: Speech and Language Development in Infants }

4 to 6 months

Expressive

  • Moves eyes toward sounds
  • Responds to different tones of voice
  • Recognizes toys that make noise
  • Attends to music

Receptive

  • Babbles sounds that include p, b, m, and vowels
  • Giggles and laughs
  • Vocalizes to express excitement and displeasure
  • Plays with own voice when alone and while interacting with others

7 months to 1 year

Receptive

  • Interacts with games such as peek-a-boo and pat-a-cake
  • Turns head or looks toward the direction of a sound
  • Attends to your voice when spoken to
  • Recognizes words for everyday objects such as cup, book, or milk
  • Begins to respond to simple requests such as “Come here”

Expressive

  • Babbling has long and short groups of sounds (example: “tata” “upup bibibibi”)
  • Babbling is used to get and keep a person's attention more often than crying
  • Gestures are used for communication—waving or holding arms to be picked up
  • Can imitate different speech sounds
  • Two words (hi, dog, dada, mama) emerge around the first birthday, although sounds may not be clear

{ MORE: Speech Sound Milestones You Should Know }

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How to Grow Your Baby’s Language Skills: First Year

Mindi is a working mom with three boys ages 4, 2, and an infant (born June 2013). She spent her first 8 years of her career in Speech-Language Pathology at a Children's Hospital. She currently works with adults and children in home health. The real fun for her happens when she is at home with her boys, chasing them around and pretending to be a super hero. She blogs about life as a working mom at Simply Stavish. Her weekly feature, Words in the Sand, teaches parents how to grow their child's s ... More

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4 comments

  1. kelly says:

    very happy for you

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  3. mommy nhoj says:

    We started to read books, spend time talking to her. Just last night, she brought the book to his daddy. I think she’s asking him to read and indeed she behaved and interacted as they read the book together 🙂 What a lovely sight to see them together!

  4. mommy nhoj says:

    We’re so excited for this language milestones. She can babble milk, yehey, wow and book 🙂 she’s 10 months! She’s a bit naughty and kept challenging my No! Moments 🙂 She’d stop then smile at me before she proceeds to her destination.

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