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When should my baby start talking?

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babyA concerned parent recently emailed me with a question that I thought I’d share. She is worried about her son not being able to say more than “mama” and “papa” at 22 months old.

My son turned 3 in February and at the time, he didn’t have very many words in his vocabulary yet. I was worried because a lot of other kids his age that I know were speaking full sentences.

It’s been 7 months since then and now I can’t get him to stop talking! He seemed to develop a huge vocabulary overnight. My daughter (who is now 5 years old) was the same way. In fact, almost any baby I know is similar.

When it comes to development, it’s important to remember that each child develops at their own pace. Nobody is the same so it’s hard to judge when the right time is that they should be saying certain words or doing certain things.

As long as they’re healthy and continuing to grow and develop, everything should be fine.

To help your child learn how to communicate, speak to them all the time. When you’re out for a walk, talk about the things you see. When you’re at home, have conversations with them, even if it seems a bit one-sided.

Reading to your child often will also help them with their vocabulary skills. Dr. Seuss books have always been a favorite with my kids. They’re also recommended by teachers to help children learn how to speak and read.

Around 19-24 months, your child may be able to string a few words together to form short sentences. If they aren’t at that point yet, you can have your family doctor evaluate him. He may even be referred to a speech-language pathologist.

Just remember that if your child isn’t talking at the same level as another child who is the same age, it doesn’t necessarily mean something is wrong. They may just need a bit more time like my own son did.

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