Speech Milestones
Parents anticipate for months to hear the first words of their baby, which is music to their ears. While every child develops at his own pace, yet there are some milestones that need to be watched for when it comes to speech development of an infant. Although the stages that children exhibit the speech milestones are consistent largely, the exact age when they reach them can vary. Thus, it makes difficult to say whether a child will speak in 6 months, or in 2 years. In the lines to follow, we have collated some basic developmental milestones, grouped by age for reference. However, parents must make a note here that every child develops differently, and no two children are alike.

Between 3-6 months:
  • Your child should learn to smile, and also get startled upon hearing loud noises
  • Should be able to recognize your voice, and cry in sounds for different needs
  • The cooing and babbling should happen, and he should also gurgle
  • The baby should move his eyes, and neck towards the direction of sound
  • Should give special attention to sound making toys and music
  • The baby should watch your face as you talk to him
  • Should smile or stay silent when you are close by and talking to him

Smiles and gurgles

By the end of 12 Months
  • He should be able to see say ‘uh-oh’, ‘mama’, ‘dada’ and ‘baba’
  • Should use gestures like waving, shaking, and pointing
  • Recognize his name when called and look in that direction
  • Should be able to respond to bye bye no and comprehend simple instructions like come here
  • Should listen intently when in a group of people
  • Tries to catch your attention using sounds, gestures, pointing and bringing your toys and other things
  • Understands when you praise and applaud him, and performs the same action repetitively
  • The baby should try imitating words that he catches from your conversations
  • Should point out to things of interest to him
  • Should try speaking single words

Hello World

By the end of 18 Months
  • Should be able to point out to at least one body part
  • Should be able to follow simple instructions like ‘Go there’, ‘sit down’ when gestured
  • Should recognize names of people she sees on daily basis
  • Should make at least four different consonant sounds – b, n, d, g, w, h
  • Say somewhere between 6-8 words
  • Between 19-24 Months
    • Should learn at least one word a week and expand her vocabulary rapidly
    • Starts using some pronouns
    • Enjoy being with a group of children and with other people

    Baby should turn towards direction of sound

    By the end of 24 Months
    • Should be involved with pretend play
    • Should respond to simple directions
    • Should know what some household products are used for – a toothbrush, spoon, mop
    • Should be able to loosely join two words at least
    • Should be able to point to named pictures in a book or a journal
    • The child should ask one or two words questions
    • Even if gestures are not used, the child should understand simple commands
    • The baby should be able to communicate his immediate needs

    Pretend play

    By the end of 30 Months
    • Use some action oriented words – run, fall
    • Should ask simple questions
    • Should understand the concept of size and quantity – big, short, more and less
    • Remembers and understands some familiar stories
    • Takes an interest in nursery rhymes and hums it along
    • Can speak words that have two or more syllables
    • Combines several actions when playing, stories out his play and does a lot of activity
    • Scribbles and turns pages of a book, may also pretend reading to stuffed animals and toys
    • Can hold a book the right way up

    You should see the doctor if you feel that your child is not meeting the communication milestones even after several weeks after the developmental milestone age. Though there might be nothing to be concerned about, yet understanding delay, of any goes a long way in for developing speech and language in a child.
    However, if you have a preemie, keep in mind that the timetable for a preemie could be different than what has been indicated. By the time preemies turn two years, they generally catch up with other children on milestones.