How can I support my child’s speech development?

Many children begin to speak around 12 months, but it’s normal if your child develops at a different pace! You can support your child’s speech development through your everyday words and actions starting from infancy. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests taking these steps to help nurture your child’s speech development:

  • Talk to your child: Narrate your day with your child! Talk them through your daily routines and actions, such as “We’re going to take a walk! I’m going to put on your coat and we’re going to go to the park. When we get home we’ll have a snack!” 
  • Read to your child: You can start reading to your baby from day 1! Over time, babies will start to recognize words and sounds which will set them up for reading and speech later on. Make this a part of your daily routine by reading every night before bed! You can start with simple stories and add more complex ones as your child gets older.
  • Listen to music together: Children will start to recognize the words to their favorite songs after listening to them over and over! You may not love the repetition of “Old McDonald” 20 times per day, but your little one will, and it will start to help them recognize sounds and patterns. 
  • Tell stories: Make up stories throughout the day or at bedtime to help grow your child’s imagination and further familiarize them with language. 
  • Follow your child’s lead: Notice which topics or books interest your child and focus on those! Repeat words and sounds that they use to describe their favorite objects, such as a particular image in a storybook that they point to every time.

This article has been reviewed by our team of experts.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article does not constitute medical advice. If you have concerns about any health or medical condition, diagnosis, or treatment you should consult with your pediatrician or a licensed healthcare provider.