Every child learns at their own pace. Most children will reach speech, language and communication milestones in their own time. However knowing roughly what to expect and when can be helpful. It can often reassure us our child is on track. It can also help parents and carers know if they should seek advice and support.
These skills are learnt stage by stage and there are many ways to support this development.
Babies are born able to communicate. This is more than being able to talk. The first 12 months is when babies learn to make and respond to sounds. To begin with they may cry a lot as carers are still getting used to the earlier ‘cues’ babies use to tell us their needs.
As time goes by babies often begin to cry less as they become confident that their carers understand them and their needs will be met.
0 - 4 months
4 - 6 months
Around 8 months
Around 10 months
Around 12 months
While they are learning these skills, the response they get from caregivers will make all the difference. When parents and carers show interest and praise the sounds, actions and words babies try out it will motivate them to try more.
12 months - 18 months
18 months - 2 years
Playing, reading, chatting with parents and carers will help your child gain more and more words, understanding and confidence in speech and communication.
Uninterrupted time spent being with and talking to your child has many benefits and is important through out their whole childhood. It builds self esteem and social skills helping your child to become a confident communicator.
If You Are Worried
Firstly remember that each child will develop at their own pace. Spend as much time as you can playing and talking with your child without distractions – even 5 minutes here and there adds up and can make a big difference.
If your child attends nursery or a registered childminder, talk to them about your worries – they will be able to work with you to build your child’s skills and advise on any next steps needed.
You can also contact our Just One Number team on the details below to talk through your concerns. The team may ask about your child's hearing and vision to be sure this is not getting in the way of their communication skill development.
You can contact the Healthy Child Programme by calling Just One Number on 0300 300 0123 or texting Parentline on 07520 631590. Our opening hours are 8am-6pm Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.
If you are 11-19 you can text ChatHealth on 07480 635060 for confidential advice from one of our team.
You can speak to other Norfolk parents and carers by clicking our online community forum below.