By Raising Children Network
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Photo of Baby on mother's lap

Between the ages of three months and one year, you can expect your child to coo and laugh, play with sounds, babble and begin to communicate with gestures.

Your baby’s communication skills grow dramatically in her first year of life. Here are some things your child might do:

  • coo and laugh
  • respond to you when you talk, by making noises or becoming quiet
  • make eye contact with you
  • make a series of different sounds, such as ‘aaieee’, ‘booo’, ‘ahh’
  • at around three months, say ‘ah goo’ or another combination of vowels and consonants
  • beginning at around four months, babble and combine vowels and consonants, such as ‘ga ga ga ga’, ‘ba ba ba ba’, ‘ma ma ma ma’, ‘da da da da’
  • laugh when you play with her
  • imitate some of the sounds and gestures you make
  • at around five months, respond when you say his name
  • play with making sounds – for example, she might try making different sounds and pitches at varying (sometimes earsplitting!) volumes
  • at around eight months, make longer sequences of sounds, some of which have the tone and rhythm of normal speech
  • around nine months, say ‘mama’ or ‘dada’, although he might not necessarily be talking about his mum or dad
  • imitate sounds, such as coughing, laughing, clicking or making ‘raspberries’
  • enjoy games such as peekaboo and other action games
  • at around 10 months, understand the word ‘no’ (but she still won’t always do as you say!)
  • use gestures to respond to or initiate a conversation
  • communicate with purpose, mainly to request, insist, refuse, reject or greet someone
  • ask for something by pointing, or by looking at a person then at something he wants
  • at around 12-14 months, say a few words with a clear meaning, such as ‘mama’ or ‘dada’ to refer to her mum or dad
  • understand very simple instructions with verbal and visual cues – for example, when you hold your hand out and say ‘ta’, she’ll give you the toy she was holding. 
Children grow and develop at different rates. The information in this article is offered as a guide only. If you’re at all concerned about your child’s language development, speak with your doctor or child health nurse.
  • Last updated or reviewed 20-02-2012