Babies begin to communicate as soon as they are born and learn to decipher what you tell them. Babies start to make noises often termed as gibberish very early on. This is the stage when children develop and nurture their language skills as well as their speech skills which eventually aid them in making friends, in reading books and in finding success in school and professional life. Since this is such an important stage, parents should play an important part in aiding their child in every possible way to help him develop strong communication skills.

Language Development Milestones for Babies

1. Language Development Milestones for 0-1 Year Old

Month of Age

What They Can Do


Babies usually cry a lot and it is their main mode of communication at this stage. Their crying may differ according to their needs and moods. For instance, high-pitch crying indicates that the baby is hungry while a whimpering noise indicates that a change of diaper is needed. The baby might not understand what you say much, but theywill slowly understand how words sound.


Babies start babbling when they are 4-6 months old and might start to use a variety of consonants and vowels together, and even possibly utter words that make no sense. They might even say ‘dada’ or ‘mama’, but they are not able to relate it to you yet as the baby utters these words just to play with his vocal cords, tongue, teeth and palates. The baby should start to respond to his name too at around this stage.


This is the stage when the baby’s babbling should start to make some sense as the baby tries to replicate patterns and words that you use frequently. You can help the baby at this stage by reading to him more.

2. Language Development Milestones for 1-2 Years Old

Month of Age

What They Can Do


The child would start using more than one word and might start to join them too, showing that the child knows what he is saying. He would also start to change the tone for different things. For instance, the child might have a quizzical tone when asking anything. The child would start to use words rather than signs to communicate his needs.


The child can pick up new words almost every other day at this stage. The child might even combine words and make small sentences like “Want water”, etc, which shows that the child has better understanding of the words. He might even start to sing catchy lines of songs and jingles as he celebrates his second birthday.

3. Language Development Milestones for 2-3 Years Old

The child would start to understand how to use pronouns and by the time he is three, he should be able to know the difference between I, me and you. They might even start using verbs and nouns together to form simple sentences like ‘I go play.’ At this stage, you would be able to understand what your baby wants to communicate entirely through his conversation while the baby should also be able to follow some complicated instructions like “Put your toys in the box.”

How to Help Your Baby Achieve More Language Development Milestone?

Babies start to get a hang of words a long time before they can speak them. You can aid your baby in learning how to talk by trying the methods below.

1. Respond to Your Baby

Understand your baby’s little body language and respond positively to them. For instance, if your baby picks up a toy and brings it to you, make sure that you smile, look into his eyes and then respond by playing with him a bit.

2. Listen to Your Baby

Listening to your baby would encourage him to talk more. You should give your baby the impression that you understand all his babbling by saying the same words back or by nodding your head.

3. Talk with Your Baby

  • Imitate: Babies like to hear and copy what their parents say. So, if you will talk to them it would eventually develop their speaking skills. You shouldn’t just talk but copy what your baby says though in a more correct manner. For instance, if your baby says ‘cal’ instead of cat, say the corrected word back to him. Moreover, try to get your baby to copy your actions like saying good-bye, kissing on the cheek and shaking hands. These actions will help the child learn how to take turns, an important part of conversations. 
  • Explain: If your baby points out something and then shows some emotion, you should explain and elaborate it to your child. For instance, if your child points to Tom while watching TV, ask him “Do you like Tom? Is Tom a good cat?”
  • Describe: Describe the actions that you perform in front of your baby so that the baby can make a connection between the action and the speech. For instance, when changing his clothes, you can say, “Now let’s put on your favorite green shirt.”
  • Try open questions: Try to ask open questions instead of a yes-no question which will encourage the baby to think and find out the answer by himself. For instance, when doing breakfast, rather than asking the baby “Would you like milk? Would you like water?”, you should ask “Do you want milk or water?” This will make the baby choose and help you successfully communicate with your child.

4. Praise Your Baby

Whenever the baby tries to talk or says a word even if it can’t be understood, applaud the child and praise him as babies talk more when encouraged.

5. Read to Baby

You don’t need to read big story books to the baby. The best thing to do is to show him the pictures and then describe them. A big book with colorful pictures is always a hit among children. You should also ask the baby to recognize different things in picture to encourage him to talk to you.

6. Play with Your baby

Encourage the child to play with you and tell his imagination in words to improve his communication skills. Song singing games, finger games, nursery rhyme games are great as they can teach your child about rhythm and improve the child’s comprehension skills too.

7. Be Patient

It’s important to keep patient with your child even when you don’t understand what he says, and you can ask him to confirm whether your understanding of what he is saying is correct or not. The more time you spend, the more development your child will make.

8. Follow Your Baby’s Pace

When you are playing with your child, make sure you follow your child’s interests or let him lead; thus, he can understand that communication is a two-way involvement of listening and talking.

What to Do If You’re Concerned About a Language Development Delay

If you feel that your baby’s language development isn’t proper and if you see any indications of a speech delay from him, you should talk with the baby’s doctor. There can be many reasons for speech delay in children though it’s important to get it diagnosed quickly so that it can be treated before the child is of school age. You can try the following things after consulting with the pediatrician.

  • Get a hearing test done: In about 3 out of 1000 infants, hearing is an issue which causes speech delays. Arrange a full hearing examination for your baby when he turns 3 months if he doesn’t pass the hearing screening which is performed right after your baby’s birth in the hospital.
  • Visit a speech pathologist: Speech therapists are specialists in diagnosing disorders related to speech or language and can treat them as well. The speech pathologist may also guide the parents with tips to help them know how to develop their child’s speech skills.
  • Mull over developmental screening:  ADHD, autism and other intellectual disabilities, are common in children. You should consult a doctor about a screening for these developmental problems to rule out the causes of speech delays.

Want to have a look at a mother talking about her experience with speech delays in her twins? Check the video out: