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Little Kids, Big Questions
is a series of 12 podcasts that translates the research of early childhood development into parenting practices that mothers, fathers and other caregivers can tailor to the needs of their own child and family. Click here to listen to or download the podcasts. This podcast series is generously funded by MetLife Foundation.

What can I do to help my 10-month-old learn to talk?

Q: What can I do to help my 10-month-old learn to talk?  I have a neighbor whose baby already says a few words!

A: There is a wide range for when young children start to talk. Some children say their first words at 9 months and others at 18 months. What’s most important is that your child is moving forward in her communication skills--using her sounds, gestures and facial expressions in increasingly complex ways. For example, she moves from babbling to making consonant-vowel sounds (such as da, ma, ba).  She goes from grunting when she wants something to reaching towards or pointing to what she wants.

As far as what you can do, talk a lot with your baby. Talk about what you are doing while changing his diaper, dressing him, or fixing a bottle. Sing songs, and play “back and forth” games (like peek-a-boo) throughout the day.  Having early “conversations” like these helps babies learn language.  It can also make transitions between activities easier and relieve stress for both of you.

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