Birth to One Year

[en Español]

How Does Your Child Hear and Talk? | One to Two Years | Two to Three Years |
Three to Four Years | Four to Five Years | Learning Two Languages |
What should I do if I think my child has a problem?

Children develop at their own rate. Your child might not have all skills until the end of the age range.

What should my child be able to do?

Hearing and Understanding Talking

Birth–3 Months

  • Startles at loud sounds.
  • Quiets or smiles when you talk.
  • Seems to recognize your voice. Quiets if crying.

Birth–3 Months

  • Makes cooing sounds.
  • Cries change for different needs.
  • Smiles at people.

4–6 Months

  • Moves her eyes in the direction of sounds.
  • Responds to changes in your tone of voice.
  • Notices toys that make sounds.
  • Pays attention to music.

4–6 Months

  • Coos and babbles when playing alone or with you. 
  • Makes speech-like babbling sounds, like pa, ba, and mi.
  • Giggles and laughs.
  • Makes sounds when happy or upset.

7 Months–1 Year

  • Turns and looks in the direction of sounds.
  • Looks when you point.
  • Turns when you call her name.
  • Understands words for common items and people—words like cup, truck, juice, and daddy.
  • Starts to respond to simple words and phrases, like “No,” “Come here,” and “Want more?”
  • Plays games with you, like peek-a-boo and pat-a-cake.
  • Listens to songs and stories for a short time.

7 Months–1 Year

  • Babbles long strings of sounds, like mimi upup babababa.
  • Uses sounds and gestures to get and keep attention.
  • Points to objects and shows them to others.
  • Uses gestures like waving bye, reaching for “up,” and shaking his head no.
  • Imitates different speech sounds.
  • Says 1 or 2 words, like hi, dog, dada, mama, or uh-oh. This will happen around his first birthday, but sounds may not be clear.

What can I do to help?

  • Check if your child can hear. See if she turns to noises or looks at you when you talk. Pay attention to ear problems and infections, and see your doctor.
  • Respond to your child. Look at him when he makes noises. Talk to him. Imitate the sounds he makes.
  • Laugh when she does. Imitate the faces she makes.
  • Teach your baby to imitate actions, like peek-a-boo, clapping, blowing kisses, and waving bye-bye. This teaches him how to take turns. We take turns when we talk.
  • Talk about what you do during the day. Say things like “Mommy is washing your hair”; “You are eating peas”; and “Oh, these peas are good!”
  • Talk about where you go, what you do there, and who and what you see. Say things like, “We are going to Grandma’s house. Grandma has a dog. You can pet the dog.”
  • Teach animal sounds, like “A cow says ‘moo.’”
  • Read to your child every day.
  • Talk to your child in the language you are most comfortable using.