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How Does Your Child Hear and Talk?

infant talking age

All parents look forward to seeing their child go through the key developmental milestones such as, when they start walking, talking, etc. Parents of children are sometimes overanxious around these milestones and frequently get stressed if their kid shows a delay in one of the milestones as compared to other kids of the same age in their social circle.

Each child has his or her growth journey. Just because a child has missed one milestone does not necessarily mean the child suffers from any deficiency or disorder. However, if you observe too many misses then it is indeed advisable to contact certified medical child experts.

Hearing and talking are key elements of a child’s growth journey. Parents can keep track of the following milestones given by the ASHA (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association). Each child might lag or advance around different milestones, and they might catch up eventually.

Also Read: Teaching Children on the Production of Sound

Birth to 3 Months

● Shows alertness to sounds

● Goes quiet or responds with a smile when you talk.

● Makes sounds back and forth with you.

● Makes sounds that differ depending on whether they are happy or upset.

● Coos, makes sounds like ooooo, aahh, and mmmmm.

● Turns or looks toward voices, rattles, or people talking

4 to 6 Months

● Giggles and laughs.

● Reacts to toys that make sounds, and rattles, like those with bells or music.

● Makes sounds while playing or with objects in mouth.

● Makes different vowel sounds—sometimes combined with a consonant—like uuuuuummm, aaaaaaagoo, or daaaaaaaaaa.

7 to 9 Months

● Looks at you when you call their name.

● Stops for a moment when you say, “No.”

● Babbles long strings of sounds, like mamamama, upup, or babababa.

● Raises arms, like screaming or crying, to be picked up.

● Recognizes the names of some people and objects.

10 to 12 Months

● Tries to copy sounds that you make.

● Enjoys dancing to songs.

● Responds to simple words and phrases like “Go bye-bye” and “Look at Mommy.”

● Says one or two words—like mama, dada, hi, and bye.

Also Read: Ways to Respond When Your Toddler Uses Baby Talk

What can parents do?

  • Pay attention to your child’s hearing pattern. See if they respond to sounds. Do they move their heads towards the direction from where the sound is coming?
  • Respond to them when they make noises. Talk to them, and respond by imitating them and making sounds. Introduce babies to various sounds by talking, singing, and laughing with them. Additionally, expose them to other noises like beeps, bells, utensil clunks, dogs barking, and more.

  • Talk to them in the language you want them to learn. This will help them catch on to the language faster.

13 to 18 Months

● Looks around when asked “where” questions—like “Where’s your blanket?”

● Follows directions—like “Give me the ball,” “Hug the dog,” “Come here,” or “Show me your chin.”

● Understands and uses words for common objects, actions, and people in their lives.

● Uses a combination of long strings of sounds, syllables, and real words with speech-like inflection.

19 to 24 Months

● Uses and understands at least 50 words for food, toys, animals, and body parts. Speech may not always be clear—like du for “shoe” or dah for “dog.”

● Puts two or more words together—like “bring water” or “go outside”.

● Follows two-step directions—like “Pick the spoon, and put it on the table.”

● Uses words like me, mine, and you.

● Uses words to ask for help.

What can parents do?

  • Make them notice the different sounds around your house, and try to vocalise those sounds, for example, tik-tik-tik for the clock ticking, etc.

  • Make a variety of sounds with your tongue and let them imitate.

  • Give them two-step directions, for example, pick up the teddy and keep it on the sofa.

  • Create associations of familiar objects with sounds, e.g. dog with woof woof, cats with meow, etc.

  • Read them stories every day, and dramatize the sequences with sounds and dramatic intonations.

2 to 3 Years

● Uses different word combinations repetitively, occasionally repeating some words or phrases, like baby – baby – baby sit down or I want – I want juice.

● Tries to get your attention by saying, Look at me!

● Says their name when asked.

● Uses some plural words like birds or toys.

● Uses –ing verbs like eating or running. Added to the end of words to talk about past actions, like looked or played.

● Answers decision-based questions like “What do you do when you are sleepy?” or “Which one can you wear?”

● Correctly pronounces p, b, m, h, w, d, and n in words.

● Correctly pronounces most vowels in words.

● Speech is becoming clearer but may not be understandable to unfamiliar listeners or to people who do not know your child.

Also Read: Hearing Loss in Children

What can parents do?

  • Start conversing with them. Build on their sentences. For example, ask the child what their favourite flower is. If they say, Rose, then ask them why Rose is their favourite flower. They might say: because it smells so good. Then say, yes it smells so good, but it also looks pretty. In this way, you can build on their sentences and strike up a continuing conversation.

  • Introduce them to new words. Reading from a book, newspaper, or magazine, if you come across a new word, spend some time talking about the word, what it means, etc. The next day ask them to think of an application of the new word.

  • Show them pictures and ask them to verbalise what they see in the pictures

3 to 4 Years

● Compares things, with words like bigger or shorter.

● Tells you a story from a book or a video.

● Understands and uses more location words, like inside, on, and under.

● Uses words like “a” or “the” when talking, like “a book” or “the dog”.

● Correctly pronounces t, k, g, f, y, and –ing in words.1, 4

● Says all the syllables in a word.

● Says the sounds at the beginning, middle, and end of words.

● By age 4 years, your child talks smoothly. Does not repeat sounds, words, or phrases most of the time.

● By age 4 years, your child speaks so that people can understand most of what they say. Children may make mistakes on sounds that are later to develop—like l, j, r, sh, ch, s, v, z, and th.

● By age 4 years, your child says all sounds in a consonant cluster containing two or more consonants in a row—like the tw in a tweet or the –nd in the sand. May not produce all sounds correctly—for example, spway for “spray.”

4 to 5 Years

● Produces grammatically correct sentences. Sentences are longer and more complex.

● Uses at least one irregular plural form, like feet or men.

● Understands and uses location words, like behind, besides, and between.

● Uses more words for time—like yesterday and tomorrow—correctly.

● Follows simple directions and rules while playing games.

● Recognizes and names 10 or more letters and can write their name.

● Imitates reading and writing from left to right.

● Blends word parts, like cup + cake = cupcake. Identifies some rhyming words, like cat and hat.

● Produces most consonants correctly, and speech is understandable in a conversation.

What can parents do?

  • Start building vocabulary to vocalize spatial positioning of objects for example, “first and last” or “right and left.”
  • Start teaching them active listening and responding when someone else is speaking.
  • Introduce them to the art of storytelling. Make them tell stories from their daily experiences, or from a story they read or a video they saw somewhere.

Hearing and talking are key cognitive elements which drive the overall behavioural response in living beings. It is essential for us to keenly monitor and help in the development of these abilities in kids. Timely interventions and expert advice are always welcome.

Experts at EuroSchool keenly track the hearing and talking developmental milestones of our students and provide timely interventions and support to children and parents as and when required.



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