Language and Speech Development in a Child 0 – 12 months

Childhood Development
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What speech and language development can you expect to see at this age? 

0-3 months 

  • Quiets to a familiar voice 
  • Makes pleasure sounds 
  • Coos single syllables (e.g. coo, gaa) 

3-6 months 

  • Makes vowel sounds, such as ‘a’, ‘e’ and ‘o’ 
  • Smiles at the person speaking 
  • Copies some sounds that others make 
  • Your baby turns their head when they hear a voice 
  • Reacts when you call their name 

6-9 months 

  • Responds to “ no” 
  • Uses baby talk or babbles when they see a toy that moves 
  • Shouts for attention 
  • Babbles during simple games 

9-12 months 

  • Uses social gestures (e.g. points to show objects, waves) 
  • May respond to own name and “no” 
  • Obeys some simple commands 
  • Imitates rhythms and facial expressions 
  • Uses 2 – 6 words other than mama and dada 

Activities to help stimulate your 0-1 year old child’s speech and language development 

3-6 months 

Play with sounds.

Make your child aware that different things/animals make different sounds. Tell your baby that a snake goes ‘ssss’, a car goes ‘vroom-vroom’ and food tastes ‘mmm-mmm’

Read stories to your baby.

Try reading the same story a few times. Ask questions about the story and answer the questions yourself. Point to the character or object that you are reading about. 

Make your baby aware of the environment. Name all the things that your baby touches, plays with, sits on and wears. Repeat the same words a few times. Describe what you are doing and what you are using. 

6-12 months 

Play with sounds.

Clap a variety of rhythms twice. Then hold your baby’s hands in your hands and repeat the same rhythm.  

Build your baby’s vocabulary.

While bathing, dressing or changing nappies, name the various body parts when touching them. 

Explain characteristics of objects to your baby.

For example, if playing with a ball, tell your baby the ball is blue, round and small. If your baby is drinking milk, talk about the milk that is cold and white. 

Use body language and gestures when you talk to your baby. 


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