What’s going on for baby?

During this time, baby will understand many more words than they can say. By 12 months old, they can understand about 10 words that they’ve heard often.

They’ll also learn to follow requests such as, ‘Wave to Daddy!’ They’ll look at books and listen for a brief time when whānau share books with them, and they’ll also enjoy rhymes and songs.

Baby will use a mixture of strategies to communicate with people, such as gestures (especially pointing), sounds with gestures, jabbering (noises that sound like speech), facial expressions, ‘almost-words’ such as ‘ca’ for ‘cat’, and some complete words — such as ‘mum’ or ‘dad’.

How can parents and whānau help?

  • Use parallel talk and self-talk so baby hears the words that match what they’re looking at (or playing with). This helps to increase their vocabulary.
  • Have fun sharing books together every day.
  • Share rhymes and songs. This is another fun way to learn what words mean.
  • Tell baby the words that match what they’re pointing and gesturing at. For example, if they’re pointing to their bottle or a cup, respond with, ‘Do you want a drink?’

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