0 to 3 Months
- Coo and gurgle
- Coo vowels such as “ah,” “eee,” and “ooo”
- Use a strong cry
- Look at speaker’s eyes and mouth
- React to loud noises
- Become quiet in response to a smile and to a familiar, pleasant voice
- Make noises in response to parents’ smile and talk
- Smile in imitation
- Hold head up by self
- Talk to your baby gently. Use simple words and sentences. Your baby will not understand what you say to him now, but will in time.
- Imitate any sounds the baby makes. For example, if she says “aaah” then you say “aaah”. This will encourage her to do more. Imitation is the first way that children learn.
- Hum or sing softly to the child when you hold her.
- Hold or position your child so she can see your face. Have her watch you as you talk.
- Hang a mobile over the baby’s crib so she can see it and you can talk about it.
- Play music at a quiet level (CD’s or tapes designed for young children) for the baby to listen to and enjoy.
- Call the baby’s name. When she looks at you, pick her up, and reward her with smiles and affection for looking at you.
- Allow your child time to make noises alone; you don’t have to talk to her all the time. Your baby needs some quiet time to enjoy and “experiment” with her own sound making.
3 to 6 Months
- Turn to source of sound or voice
- Laugh out loud
- May use consonant and vowel sounds together such as “ba,” “ma,” or “ka.”
- Make protest sounds when a favorite toy or bottle is taken away
- Enjoy playing with sounds
- Know the difference between parents and strangers
- Use expression in your voice. The tone of your voice will help your little one to learn the meanings of words. By varying the pitch and loudness of your voice, she will also pay more attention to you.
- Encourage babbling by imitating the sounds he makes.
- Imitate nonverbal speech (tongue clicks, bubble blowing) as well as sounds. When the child laughs and smiles, imitate what she’s doing.
- Let the child feel your mouth and throat when she makes sounds or when you talk. Also, place his hand on his own mouth and throat as he makes sounds.
- Increase your child’s awareness of environmental sounds. When your baby turns toward a sound such as a rattle and begins to reach for it, give the item to him to touch and explore.
- Use the child’s name often so that she learns her name.
- Place a mirror on the floor for your baby to see herself. This is an excellent way for her to become aware of her body and it will also encourage her to make sounds.
6 to 9 Months
- Babble (Repeat a consonant and vowel sound together such as “bababa”)
- Look when name is called
- Listen to and imitate sounds you make (p, b, m, k, g, n, t, d)
- Use some gestures to communicate
- Search for objects that he doesn’t see
- Smile at and pat a mirror
- Play “patty-cake” and “peek-a-boo”
- Wave bye-bye
- Stand, holding on
- The expression in your voice and on your face says so much to your child. Use appropriate facial expressions. For example, use a disappointing tone when your child misbehaves and a pleasant voice with a smile for good behavior.
- Likewise, use gestures as you talk. For example, hold your hands out for “come,” wave for “bye-bye,” and shake your head for “no.” This will help your child understand the meaning of words.
- Play games of “patty-cake” and “peek-a-boo.” At this age, the child will imitate the actions. Imitation of actions is a readiness skill for the imitation of words.
- Play a game of “giving the child to family members.” As the baby comes in contact with that person, say their name. Use sentences such as “Mommy is picking you up” or “Here’s Daddy.”
9 to 12 Months
- Say first meaningful word around first birthday
- Understand “no” when spoken
- Give toy or other object when asked
- Look when family members and pets are named
- Recognize the names of a few familiar objects
- “Talk” to himself and others
- Make faces at self in mirror
- Walk sideways while holding onto support
- Mark on paper with a crayon
- Now is the time for your child to imitate you. Hold him so that he can see your face and use sounds that he can make alone or in patterns such as “bababa” or “baga.”
- Do not teach your child “baby talk”. When your baby begins to say words, do not imitate what she says (“wawa” for “water”), but say the word correctly for her. (“Right. That’s water. Do you want a drink of water?”)
- Look at books that have simple pictures in them. Take the child’s hand to touch the picture as you name it.
- Repeat simple directions many times. For example, if you want your baby to give you a block, take his hand and show him what you want as you say, “Give me the block.”