When do our toddlers speak their first word? Why do some speak more words and others less? What could impact the number of words our toddlers speak?
To answer these questions, Abbott Nutrition conducted the Toddler Language Development Study. Read on to find out more about your baby’s first words.
Why baby talk matters
The number of words your toddler can speak and how fast your child can recognise words are signs of how well he or she learns language and other subjects in the future.
Absorbing new information and picking up new words are basic skills that are fundamental to how your toddler's brain works.
Milestones to know
From birth to 3 months, the newborn tends to make cooing sounds1 . At four to six months, baby's babbling becomes more speech-like with many different sounds.
Between 7 to 12 months, your child should be able to speak one or two words. Based on our research, the two most common first words tend to be 'daddy' and 'mummy', when your child is between 11 to 12 months old.
By the time your child turns two, she should be able to ask questions with one or two simple words. During 18 to 20 months, toddlers in Singapore tend to use these 10 common words: 'mummy', 'daddy', 'bye bye', 'cat', 'bird', 'dog', 'ball', 'baa baa', 'car' and 'baby'2.
The importance of a healthy meal
According to our survey, each additional meal or snack, consumed by the toddler as part of a healthy and well balanced diet, was associated with 8 more words spoken.
So make sure your toddler gets proper nutrition. Give your child frequent meals and snacks as part of a healthy diet and make sure your child has a well-balanced diet that includes 2 to 3 glasses of milk (500ml to 750ml).
Reading habits help
Read as often to your child as possible and describe pictures in the book. For instance, point out the animals that you see in them, so that she will learn to recognise them and identify them by name. Over time, her vocabulary on animals will thus grow.
Based on our survey findings, each additional hour of reading per week was associated with 3 more words spoken and added to a child’s vocabulary.
Communication is key
Do communicate with your toddler as often as you can to help your child’s vocabulary to grow. You can talk to your child about colours, practice counting together and talk to each other while you are doing chores.
Do engage your child in a conversation about what she is interested in or looking at. This will help your child get into the habit of putting words together to express how she feels and what she thinks.
1American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Retrieved on September 2, 2015 from: http://www.asha.org/public/speech/development/chart.htm.