Mother and Baby

Your Baby’s Language Skills: From Seven To 12 Months

Your little one is changing from a baby to a toddler – welcome to your new mini chatterbox

Ok, seriously where did the time go?

One minute, crying was your baby’s only real way of letting you know what he wanted, and now he’s got some full blown vocal acrobatics going on.

There’s plenty you can do to encourage his language and communication skills – mostly involving talking yourself. Hey, you’ve got a captive audience…

Encourage chatting

At seven months, most babies are babbling and by nine months he might be able to combine syllables into long patterns and begin to change pitch and tone. When it comes to the one-year mark, you may well be hearing him jabber word-like sounds.

You can help boost your baby’s language skills by talking to him as much as possible – reading books, telling him how your day was, even relating the latest plot in New Girl.

Also use his name as much as possible, so he gets used to it and doesn’t become confused with pronouns, such as ‘you’. Before the year’s up, chances are he’ll learn to recognise and respond to it.

Get signing

Using baby sign language to communicate has become quite common over the past 10 years.

‘Watch closely and you may find your child uses his hands to gesture for things anyway,’ says speech and language therapist Libby Hill.

Signing involves mirroring these gestures and, perhaps focusing on just a couple such as mimicking a drink of milk, repeating and seeing if he starts to copy.

‘Research suggests signing improves your baby’s understanding of language by providing a visual layer,’ says Libby.

The key is to use it alongside spoken language. If you accompany signs with words, it’s a great way to encourage interaction.

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