Baby, Baby Growth and Support

When babies learn to speak: This is how you encourage, help & support

babies learn to speak

Baby development: from babbling to speaking – Even in the womb, your baby hears your voice and therefore also your language. Deciphering the meaning of words and recognizing language rules is something your baby will only learn when it has been around for a few months.

The development steps at a glance

The current state of linguistics and developmental psychology assumes that babies are always born internationally. That means: In the first six months they babble a wide variety of sounds before they adapt their pitch range to the language environment. Even deaf babies try different sounds in the first six months of their life. After the sixth month, this decreases for them due to the lack of hearing and speaking experience.

It usually takes 1.5 to 3 years for you to be able to have a lively conversation with your little one that you can understand without any problems . The beginning of language development that is perceptible to the environment is characterized by the constant trying out of certain syllables, such as “Bababa” or “Mamama”. This happens in the fourth to fifth month . Noises such as “ggrhh” or “irrrrre” are often heard beforehand, which have a high entertainment factor for many people.

From the fifth month, many parents notice that their child tries to imitate noises and babbles a lot. Since it often uses the same speech rhythm and tone as its own environment, the still incomprehensible statements seem somehow meaningful and familiar. Similar to crawling or walking , the development and testing of one’s own sounds and language skills are completely individual.

While some babies hold one monologue after the other and try out certain syllables again and again with different volumes and pitches, others are calm at first and later surprise with clear syllables and even words. Parents can therefore expect the first word in a relatively large time window. From a developmental psychological point of view, the point in time for this is determined as early as seven months or then only at 18 months.

By the age of two, your child’s vocabulary will contain around 200 words. Around the second birthday , your child learns over 10 words a day. In conjunction with the realization that your baby sees itself as its own person, it now uses language to show what it likes and doesn’t like.

After their second birthday, many toddlers are already speaking two or three word sentences. A year later, longer conversations, even with strangers who are friendly to the child, are possible without any problems. At the age of two to three  , many children express what they are thinking, planning and planning. This is extremely exciting for many parents.

Good, experienced speakers, through older children or adult role models, sometimes learn at the age of three that there is also a written language in addition to speaking. However, most children do not reach the cognitive maturity to use and understand them until they are five to seven years old.


Help and support in learning to speak

The same applies to language development: practice makes perfect. Studies even show that children of parents who have spoken to their child a lot since infancy have a higher IQ. Singing together also has a positive effect on language development.

Although it is fun at first and it is right to explore the variety of sounds and baby language together with the baby in the first few months, you should gradually talk more and more normally to your child. This makes it easier for your child to learn the language grammatically correct and to develop a large vocabulary.

Always talk to your baby face to face. It will carefully observe your lip movements in order to find and formulate the right words itself at some point. Read aloud to expand your baby’s vocabulary through play. According to linguistic studies, listening to the radio and radio plays or watching television hardly support language development.

You can also help your baby learn to speak by:

  • playing finger games with him. This trains language comprehension on the one hand and fine motor skills on the other . Since the brain area for language is closely linked to that of fine motor skills, you are supporting your child in two ways.
  • blowing bubbles with your child. Here you promote the mouth muscles and breathing technique. Difficult sounds like “ssss” or “sh” are easier to pronounce.
  • Use memory and quartet games as language learning games and take turns telling (or letting) a little story to each card. Approximately from the 2nd year of life.
  • rhythm games. Current studies show that children with a good sense of rhythm are also very well developed linguistically. People with speech problems often also have difficulties in imitating a rhythm or in tapping along.
  • gently correcting your child without criticizing them. You can do this by repeating the sentence correctly in an answer (example: “Mom, gat dink.” -> “That’s right, the cat drank.”) Do you tell your baby too often that it is saying something wrong , it may make them unwilling to speak for the time being.

Language errors and their reasons

If your baby suddenly starts to stutter or starts making more language mistakes again, you shouldn’t be alarmed right away. Many young children experience such a phase and leave it behind with the next language development spurt. If this is not the case, experienced speech therapists can help to successfully overcome this language barrier.

In some cases, a changed situation can also lead to a changing or even worsening way of speaking. They include, for example:

  • suddenly being together with peers at the childminder’s, where everyone suddenly talks and understands in “baby talk” or
  • the birth of a sibling , which may lead to an already big baby wanting to be perceived as a very small one again.

These developments are usually only temporary and only require a little patience and love until the next linguistic progress follows.


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