How to Effectively Teach Your Child to Speak

July 1, 2016 Published by

Toddler Laughing whilst eatingMost of the skills used for language are developed within a baby’s first year. These include making the precise movements and sounds that will eventually form fluent speech. However, children around three years of age understand more words than they are able to speak.

Learning to speak enables your child to communicate their feelings and also develop other fundamental social skills such as beginning to form relationships, joining in with activities and being able to listen to others.

From three months to a year, babies will start making different sounds known as babbling. These sounds, such as gurgling and cooing, encourage your baby to make the right muscle movements with their mouth and explore different tones, which will eventually form fluent speech and communication.

There are lots of ways that you can encourage language development in your little one:

1. Talking with your baby:


Listen to your child babbling and even repeat the sounds they make, in order to spark a form of conversation. Talk to your baby as though they understand in order to help them develop new sounds and if your baby starts to communicate back, make similar babbling sounds to encourage them. Each of these will help your child develop the precise skills needed for language development. 

2. Responding to your baby:

Respond to your child’s gestures such as when they point or shake their head. This response will encourage communication between you and your child. Eventually they will learn the speech that matches the gestures. 

3. Introduce new words:

In order to develop your child’s understanding of language, use the words in the correct context so that they know the meaning of the words. 

4. Reading with your baby:

Reading will also increase a child’s knowledge of vocabulary. Focus on books with interesting pictures and talk about them with your child. Pointing at words will also help and will enable your child to recognise the link between written and spoken language.  

5. Repeat what your child says and follow their lead:

If your child has chosen a topic, continue this conversation. Repeating the same words they use will encourage them to use the words again. This will give them confidence to continue to talk and have conversations, and they will respond to your positivity, encouraging language development as a result.


All children develop at different rates, however the first year is the most crucial stage of language development, as babies are beginning to coordinate their muscles which will eventually form fluent speech and communication.



Photo Credit: Laugh by Philippe Put licensed under CC BY 2.0




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This post was written by Anna Taylor

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