0-6 months

A mum with a young baby talking to an NHS member of staff As a baby

It is never too soon to talk to your baby. You can start as soon as they are born. Babies love faces. Hold them close so they can see your face as you talk to them.

Smiling, laughing and babbling are all ways that your baby will tell you that they want to talk. Babies love to hear voices. Talk slowly and gently and your baby will soon turn to listen to you. Use short words to talk about what your child is doing.

  • Use the same words over and over, again and again.
  • Give them time to make sounds – they will gurgle and try to copy you.
  • Silly sounds and faces can make talking more fun for both of you!
  • Looking at books can be a fun way of learning new words. You can tell the story just by looking at the pictures together!
  • You can have lots of fun with simple nursery rhymes and songs. The actions will help your baby to join in.
  • Talk about the things you see and do together everyday.
  • Turn feeding, changing and bathing times into talking times.
  • Lots of noise makes it hard for your baby to listen.
  • Remember to turn off the television when you are playing together.
  • After 6 months old try to keep dummies for sleep times only.

 

A mum with her young baby3 months

At 3 months old your baby is likely to be starting to...

  • Use different cries to express their feelings.
  • Recognise familiar voices.
  • Respond to loud noises like a door slamming.
  • Stick out their tongue and move their lips when you speak to them.
  • Smile at around 5-6 weeks.
  • Laugh at about 3 months.
  • Make cooing noises at around 3 months.
  • Show a real interest in your face.

Helpful hints

  • I love to hear lots of different voices and noises. I will try to copy them.
  • Make sure you look at me when you talk to me; it helps me to look at you.
  • Copy the sounds I make. It helps me to practice and remember them!
  • I love having a special quiet time with you. Having the TV off helps me to listen to you.
  • I love it when you sing gently to me. It helps me to listen and learn.
  • Take turns with me. Talk to me and I’ll take a turn by moving, cooing or making facial expressions.
  • It’s never too soon to talk to me. I learn from listening to you!

 

A father looking at his baby6 months

At 6 months, your baby will be starting to ...

  • Make and play with different sounds, saying, for example, baba, dada
  • Cry in different ways to express different needs.
  • Make noises to get attention
  • Make sounds when people speak to them, almost as if they are talking back!
  • Recognise different emotions in parent’s voice and may respond differently e.g. smile, quieten, laugh,
  • Smile at familiar faces
  • Laugh while playing.

Helpful hints

  • Let me know that what I say is important to you. You can do this by listening and responding when I babble or gesture.
  • I am never too young to enjoy books, I like
  • looking at the pictures with you!
  • Play repetitive games, so I can
  • earn what happens next. Bouncing and peek-a-boo are really good fun!
  • Get face to face down to my level. You can really look at me and I can look at you.
  • Let me take turns ‘talking’. If I babble copy my sounds and we can have a chat!
  • Look to see what I’m interested in. Wait for me to ‘talk to you’, for example, I will point or babble.