How to develop your baby’s language skills

Although learning to talk involves listening, understanding and analysing information, your child practises these seamlessly through spending time and bonding with you and loved ones. While you’re talking to your baby, his brain is already hardwired to grasp the speech and sounds used for his home language and how to join words into sentences. He is also picking up on social skills, such as eye contact when talking to someone, and understanding facial expressions and body language which all contribute to learning how to speak.

At Wriggles and Giggles Sessions we repeat activities that will help with all stages of development from birth to 5 years We also help with ideas to take home and parenting tips and techniques. To join a group in Yarm, Darlington, Hartburn, Ingleby Barwick, Newton Aycliffe send us an email

The difference between speech and language

Your baby learns about language before he starts to talk. Language is what your little one understands from a young age, and this progresses to how he’ll use words and combinations of words to communicate at a later stage. Speech relates to the sounds his mouth makes and how he can combine those sounds together. First, he’ll listen and respond to changes in sound, rhythm and intonation. Between his first and second birthday, your child will go from understanding concepts, but saying no words, to being able to have a simple conversation. During his second year, the average toddler learns to say about 200 words.

Speech milestones you can expect your child to reach

Birth to three months – crying and gurgling

Your newborn’s first means of communication is through crying. When you respond, you are already starting to teach your child communication skills. Your little one will start responding to your smiling face by gurgling.

Three to six months – cooing and babbling

As your baby gets older, he’ll start to experiment with more vowel sounds and this is called cooing. At about six months, your baby will start to join consonant and vowel sounds together, for example, “da-da-da-da” (sorry dads, he doesn’t mean you just yet). At about five months, he’ll change the combinations of consonants and vowels. He’ll also start babbling randomly using patterns of noises to communicate. The tone of his voice will change to attract your attention.

Six to 12 months – early speech

Your baby will try to imitate you when you sing or talk to him. Around his first birthday, he’ll begin to use simple words such as “mama” and “dada”. It might seem as if he’s engaged in conversation with you.

12 to 24 months – first words

You’ll start to recognise your child’s first words – even though you might be the only one who understands what he’s saying. His first 10 words will probably be the names of things that are important to him. By his second birthday, he should be starting to join words together, like “more juice” or “gone away”.

We have sensory bags available to purchase on our website at the link below. Each bag also includes unlimited access to our interactive online videos for early years

Tips for language and speech development

For language development, what a child hears and understands is important. For example, he has to understand what “more juice” means before he can ask you for “more juice”. Being listened, and spoken, to is what your child needs most to stimulate speech development.

Read Books. Open a world to your child where he’ll learn new words and how to combine them. When he reads with you, he’ll associate books with love, which will help him to develop literacy when he’s older. It’s never too early to start reading books with your child. You don’t have to read the book word for word. Let him explore the pictures, and talk about what interests him – follow his lead.

Play and sing Games like Peek-a-Boo and Round and Round the Garden are great for developing a shared interest in what’s happening around you. Songs will allow your child to predict what will happen next. When he’s a toddler, he’ll start singing along with you and you can play games when singing, like leaving a word out or changing the lyrics. The rhyming words in nursery rhymes will help to develop his reading and spelling

Wriggles and Giggles have over 50 Early Years Interactive Videos available to enjoy with your child in Dance, Sign, Puppets, Action, Match and Sound Games from our sessions using this link.