Generally at around 9 to 14 months old, babies say their first words. They will have heard these words, many times before. Usually it will be the name of a familiar person or people. Usually at this age a word is learnt before the meaning is understood. Often a baby is encouraged and will learn through the reaction they receive to accidental words they say. For example ‘Mama’ or ‘Dada’. They will also start repeating parts of words or making up their own words for things, this is a phase, 100% normal and nothing to worry about, in fact it’s something to celebrate.
You can assist an infant to develop their first words by using actions and gestures to show what a word means. Naming the objects that they can see around them like toys, clothes, body parts etc, also assists. If a baby tries to say a word, encourage them with an enthusiastic ‘that’s right!; and then repeat the word back to them correctly.
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