The age at which children speak differs because each child develops with different timing. However, their environment or health issues can delay how early they can speak clearly or express themselves.
Usually, most children can express themselves from age three to age four.
What Age Should A Child Start Talking Clearly? Speech development stages In children
At Zero To Twelve Months
At around six months, babies tend to babble because they start to play with sounds like mama and dads.
Babies do not say their first words till they are a year or so. However, they have a few ways of communicating with birth, like crying, sighing, and sometimes gurgling.
Generally, most babies start their speech development with cooing. At that point, they are learning how to communicate without crying, so they try to string sounds together using vocal tones they have probably heard as a means of communicating.
By twelve months, babies should start showing interest in what is happening around them and recognize ordinary objects by name. If your baby does not react to sounds or show interest in what is happening around them, it may cause worry at it cold indicate speech and hearing delays or problems.
At twelve to eighteen Months
Usually, babies should have a wide array of speech sounds at this age. This is because they start to copy or repeat sounds or sometimes words they have heard from the environment.
Babies mostly babble a lot of words until they are eighteen months old. Babies should also understand simple instructions from people close to them, for example, sit, eat, etc.
At Eighteen To Twenty-Four Months
At this age, babies start to say two to four words to make sentences. In addition, they are familiar with the names of everyday objects and can point them out as they say their names.
They can also say the names of familiar people or family members. They understand and carry out simple two-step instructions, like sit down, drop it, come here, etc.
At this age, they put together words they have heard when expressing themselves (‘I hungry’ or ‘I want’ ‘to school’ etc.) They can understand pictures in a book and listen to stories (especially those with pictures ), songs, rhymes, or catchy tunes.
At Two To Three Years Old
The leap in their speech development is significant at this age. Most parents are surprised when their toddlers start to express themselves using simple sentences.
They are now able to say their feeling and thoughts aloud and point at whatever they want. Understanding of whatever is happening around them starts developing at this age range.
At Three To Four Years Old
When your child is three years old, you should understand almost all they are saying already. However, by the time a child is four, everyone must understand them when they speak. Also, at this age, a child must have started going to school.
At this age, children begin to speak clearly and correct their pronunciation when they hear the correct pronunciation from others.
When Do Babies Start Talking Fluently
Babies have ways of communication right from birth (like crying when they are upset, raising their hands when they want you to pick them up, gurgling or smiling when they are happy, etc).
But they start to speak fluently at age four when they can understand what is happening around them and start to correct their wrong pronunciation of words. However, the speech development of girls develops faster than that of boys. Babies tend to say their first words at 11 to 14 months and make more complex sentences by age three to four.
Some babies start talking before they are a year old, but most take longer to start talking (because they haven’t developed control of their tongues and lips that they need to speak). So don’t be in a hurry because babies develop at different rates.
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How To Encourage Toddlers To Talk
You can always encourage your babies to talk the most efficient ways are:
Having Conversations With Your Baby
Babies learn by listening, so talking to them helps to improve their speech. You can also say things aloud, like saying the name of an object and point at it (don’t forget that visual cues encourage their speech).
You can also say random things like how your day was, who said what and who did what, or maybe what you bought while you were out shopping, or pointing out things of interest like what you’re serving them for lunch or the name of their favorite toy, etc.
Singing songs/poems and reading rhymes
Singing or reciting catchy nursery school rhymes or songs, lullabies, or songs with accompanying actions (like clapping hands), you’ll find that your baby tries to join in the action and copy the words.
Reading books or bedtime stories
Try to read bedtime stories with pictures; It builds their speech and awareness by identifying pictures and items in the book. And it will also help them to become good listeners.
Watching media suitable for their age
Watching media suitable for their age like cartoons and videos, especially those with catchy songs and rhymes, videos that recite alphabets are also advice able because they tend to imitate or copy sounds they hear often.
Take turns when speaking with your babies by waiting for them to reply or ask a question because they encourage them to express themselves, build their confidence in speaking, and make them good listeners.
Try to notice when a child is willing to learn, then repeat words that will interest them; for example, if a child points at an apple and says ‘apo’ touch the apple and say an apple a few times and wait for them to repeat it, then that child has learned a new word.
Start Communicating Early
Babies have been communicating with you right from birth before they start talking either by crying when upset, gurgling when happy, or shaking their head to say no. So try to understand and respond to these forms of communication because wanting to be understood and being understood is encouragement for your baby to learn more ways to communicate with you.
Correcting Them And Encouraging Imitation
Correcting toddlers when they make mistakes will help build their vocabulary and develop their speech. For example, if a child says ‘I hungry’ you say ‘I am hungry’ and ask them to repeat it or say it with them; this way the child develops their grammar.
Signs Of Speech Delays In Toddlers
You can tell if a child has speech delays when not paying attention to sounds or responding to simple instructions. But you should see a doctor if a child shows any of these signs:
- At twelve months: do not use gestures like waving, pointing, or following things with their eyes.
- At eighteen months: does not vocalize communications and instead prefers to use gestures for communicating.
- At eighteen months, it is unable to repeat sounds and is unable to understand simple verbal instructions.
- At two years old: they find it difficult or unable to imitate any word or action that does not produce phrases or words spontaneously.
- At two years old, they cannot express themselves orally except when it is their immediate needs (like wanting to use the washroom.) And being able to say only a few words or sounds repeatedly.
- At two years: unable to understand simple instructions.
- At two years: has a unique sounding voice (like a scratch quality or a nasal quality to their voices).
- When you find it challenging to understand the child’s speech more than expected for that age range.
Issues That Can Cause Speech Development Delays
Several things can delay speech development, but the most common are:
An Oral Disability:
For example, poorly developed tongue and lips or palate (roof or upper part of the mouth) can lead to speech delays because they are needed for speech.
The frenulum is the fold that is underneath the tongue. When it is shortened, it limits the movement of the tongue and, in turn, affects the child’s speech.
The Issue Of Oral Motor Problems:
The majority of kids with speech problems have this problem. It happens when the part of the brain that controls the jaw, tongue, and lips to eat or talk is not fully developed or malfunctions. It makes speech difficult for children with such conditions.
This affects children’s speech because babies learn by listening, so being unable to hear or hear clearly will seriously decrease their speech development.
This will also affect the speech development of children, especially when the infection is severe.