Learning to talk

I can hardly believe that Max is 17 months old. He is a fully fledged toddler now, who has mastered walking and sleeping in a big boy bed. Now he is learning to talk.

We have had a few babbled words for a long time now – ‘mama’, ‘dada’ ‘memma’ (Gemma) and ‘dayca’ (Jacob) – but proper words that other people would understand have been a bit longer coming. Over the last couple of weeks he has suddenly grasped a few words, and now uses them over and over again.



I love this video, it makes me smile every time I watch it. The fact that he has learned how to say Hiya and Bye Bye, and that he uses them properly, picking up the toy phone and ‘speaking to his friends’ makes me super proud. He really is growing up.

I have found myself wondering about the best ways to encourage his speech now we have got started. Gemma and Jacob both spoke quite early, and were using clear, strong sentences before their 2nd birthdays. These are the things that we found worked the best:

  • Repeating. When your baby says something to you, even if it’s not exactly right, repeat it back to them correctly with a ‘that’s right!’ – it reinforces their effort and gently corrects them. For example, if Max says ‘Dar’ I might say ‘Car, that’s right!’.
  • Role play – using a toy phone, or even an old mobile is really useful – you can have a pretend conversation, introduce peoples names into their vocabulary and make it fun too!
  • Read books together. Reading is a brilliant way to encourage speech. You can talk about the things you see in the book, you can teach new words, and you can relate them to the pictures, to help your toddler understand what he is seeing.
  • Ditch the baby voice. We have all done it – used that itty bitty baby voice when talking to our little ones. Don’t. Using the correct language is important from an early age – it’s no good teaching your toddler that a dog is a ‘woggy’ and then later telling him it’s a dog. You will just confuse him.
  • Face to face. Make sure you look at your little one when you talk so they can see your mouth, your expression and how you form words. They learn by copying.
  • Answer questions. Jacob used to spend ALL day asking ‘what’s that?’. No matter how many times they ask, answer them. Even if they have asked you what a tree is 15 times already that day. They are learning, and it’s important that you answer their questions. 

Do you have any other tips and tricks? Can you remember what your little ones first word was?



  1. October 17, 2014 / 7:45 pm

    What’s that – the most tedious question ever – but also one of the most important! πŸ˜€
    I LOVE watching kids learning to talk x x
    Colette B recently posted…Lotus Shoes, Brogues – ReviewMy Profile

  2. Louise
    October 17, 2014 / 9:04 pm

    Aww, I love it when babies start talking πŸ˜€

    Oscar says “Bye Bye” really nicely. And “Mummy” too. The other day he said “Mummy. I’m feeding” in the middle of his dinner but I notice he hasn’t said it since, despite me encouraging him too. He’s definitely going to be one of those children who only says things when he wants to. LOL

    Louise x

  3. October 17, 2014 / 9:14 pm

    That’s such a cute age. I don’t remember either of my children’s first words but once they started they’ve never stopped!
    Jenny recently posted…Easy play dough acornsMy Profile

  4. October 17, 2014 / 9:53 pm

    Lily’s first word was Daddy, Declan’s first word was Grandad and Harry’s was Mummy, so they have all had different first words which is really nice.
    My biggest thing is to talk in sentences to them from a young age too, to teach them the words is important but to teach them how they merge together is equally important.
    Helen recently posted…HalloweenMy Profile

  5. October 18, 2014 / 3:26 pm

    This is SOOOOOO cute! We are at the exact same stage with Little Man and it’s great hearing them say words in the right context and to learn something new. Love Max’s curls! x
    Donna recently posted…Recipe: Pumpkin PieMy Profile

  6. October 20, 2014 / 8:13 pm

    My daughters first word was “out”. We had cats and never realised how often we shouted at them to get out of this room or that room until it was her first word. She’s still bossy even today!

  7. October 21, 2014 / 1:21 pm

    It’s such a special time when children are learning to talk. Their little voices and the things they say are so cute! My oldest child’s first word was dog and I remember thinking she was just a genius for saying it! πŸ™‚
    normaleverydaylife recently posted…A Perfect DayMy Profile

  8. October 23, 2014 / 6:48 am

    How cute! Very well done to him. I think having the older kids around should be good for him as they will chat to him too and he will pick up words and phrases from them πŸ™‚
    Sarah W (@sarahMo3W) recently posted…Positive? Me?My Profile

  9. October 24, 2014 / 9:39 pm

    Hello there, I loved it when our little boy started learning to talk, and he hasn’t stopped since! I think your advice is spot on, reading to him seemed to help a lot as did repeating everything back, and answering the why questions, even when there seem to be millions of them! x #ssamazingachievements
    lystramaisey recently posted…Chapter 49-A Boy for All SeasonsMy Profile

  10. October 28, 2014 / 4:04 pm

    Great tips and advice. Both T and D had stilted speech – D took until she was 5 or so to speak in sentences – and the repetition really helped them.
    Max is a cutie!
    Thanks for linking up with #SSAmazingAchievements πŸ™‚

  11. November 9, 2014 / 9:37 pm

    Love the video, I can’t believe how big he is now! Where is the time going! #SSAmazingAchievements
    Jane recently posted…Silent SundayMy Profile

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.