Speech and Language Developmental Milestones at 6 months:
- Babies pay closer attention to the sounds and words you say.
- Babies let you know by making sounds or moving their body, that they want you to do something again, like playing “pat-a-cake” or clapping hands.
- Babies make more sounds, but mostly vowels, like “ooo”, “ah” and start to say some consonant sounds like “aga”, “da”.
- You baby might make squealing and grunting sounds.
- Babies want to put toys and other objects in their mouth.
- Babies smile when you are looking at them and talking to them.
- Babies show more interest in music, songs and rhymes and anticipate things such as tickling at the end of a rhyme.
- Babies are comforted by soft, gentle words and pay close attention to your voice and your facial expression.
- Babies turn toward you when you speak.
How to make daily routines into language learning opportunities
- All children need to have a variety of experiences, even when they are babies and haven’t yet begun to talk.
- During a walk outside, talk about what you are seeing. When babies hear you talking to them, they begin to pay attention.
- Give babies as many opportunities as possible to see your face, throughout your daily routines. This helps them to pay more attention to you and gives you the chance to see what they are looking at. Then you can put words to describe what they are looking at.
- During feeding time, dressing time and bath time, talk to babies about things they show interest in. Give them the words that they need later when they start talking.
- You can repeat words such as “on” and “off” during dressing time and words like “wet” and “splash” at bath time. Remember to use lots of gestures. Pat the water when you say “splash” and emphasize the on and off movements when putting clothing on or taking it off. Using gestures helps children to learn the words.
What are the best ways to encourage speech and language at this stage?
- You can start to use a lot of babbling sounds like “bababa” or “dadada” and “mamama”. At this stage babies are getting ready to make these sound combinations. It sometimes takes the baby a few seconds to make the sounds again. Be patient and give lots of time. Even before the baby can talk, you can share making sounds back and forth. Remember to wait, at least five seconds, if necessary, to give babies a chance to repeat sounds back to you.
- Use lots of variety in your voice. Make sounds in a sing song way. This gets baby’s attention and gives the baby a variety of sounds to imitate back to you.
- Sing songs to babies. The rhyme and rhythm of music, gets their attention and as they get older, they can begin to join in the song. Singing songs and rhymes like the “eensy weensy spider” and “row, row, row your boat” are wonderful ways to take turns with babies and to teach them new actions and words. You can learn new songs and rhymes by visiting your community Ontario Early Years Centre, where there are programs for babies, toddlers and preschoolers and workshops for parents, at no charge.
- Repeat many of the words and songs you are sharing with babies. You might think you have sung the song enough, or said the word 100 times. Children love repetition and this is how they learn. You can never say a word or sing a song too many times.
- When you or someone else is leaving, wave “bye-bye” and repeat the word and actions. Wait, to see if the baby starts to imitate the actions.
- Share books with babies. Even though they might not be interested in the words or the story, they enjoy their special time with you. Don’t worry if they want to put the book in their mouth and don’t try to read the story. Point out pictures and talk about them. Libraries offer story times for babies. This is a wonderful opportunity for you to learn about a variety of children’s books and to meet other parents in a fun, interactive environment. A visit to your public library for baby story time is a good way to get ideas for reading with your child and to meet other parents of babies. Library story times and other activities are listed on library websites such as the London Public Library, Middlesex County Libraries, Elgin County Libraries and Oxford County Libraries.