Is there a way which will encourage babies to try and talk words?

I have tried talking to my baby girl a lot of times, but that doesn't seem to help

She is 1 year old

I just want to check if I can get some tips

  • 3
    We spend the first 2 years trying to get them to talk and the next 16 trying to get them to stop.
    – Jess
    Commented Dec 30, 2016 at 2:28

4 Answers 4


I would say that there are a few things you can do that might help. Many children at one are not yet talkers, so please try not to worry. It never hurts to ask your child's doctor or nurse if everything seems okay. I will assume that you know your baby can hear well enough.

  • I would say that baby babble from adults doesn't help a lot. I doubt that it does real harm -- millions of babies have done well in spite of baby talk from adults.
  • Use the correct word for objects/things. "Milk. Here is your milk." "Bread. Here is your bread."
  • Teach some sign language. It takes the pressure off of speaking, and taking the pressure off seems to encourage speech.link to signs
  • It is fine to model speech, but be happy about any attempts. "Baba" for 'bottle' is perfectly acceptable. You say, "Yes, this is you bottle. Good for you!" Or, "Yes, you may have a bottle. You said bottle!"

If you honestly think your child is not getting the interaction part of speech, model it with another child or adult. Hold up a cookie. Say, "Cookie." Then the partner repeats it. Music is also a fabulous way to have fun during a language lesson. Sing songs you know, or make them up.

I had an autistic student who was a reluctant speaker as well as afraid of the toilet. I made up the pee song: "Everybody has to go pee. Another kid's name, Willow and me. Everybody has to go P-E -E. Another kid's name, Willow and me." Years later the student returned and sang the song to me and said it had helped her daughter, too. So as silly as a made-up song might be, it makes language more fun.

Best of luck!


Typically, babies will try to copy simple noises - they are natural imitators. In the English-speaking world, parents use sounds like Mama or Dada (Mama being the simplest of these, as baby can see clearly what you are doing) but talking to your baby while holding them as you normally would is often all the encouragement they need.

Opinion is divided as to whether you should focus more on baby-talk, to give them simple sounds to copy, or talking as you would to an adult - to help them be familiar with how speech sounds as a whole. I tend to think a bit of both, and moving away from baby-talk as they pick up words.

The Related sidebar to the right has a range of questions around specifics on this topic, so have a look at them.

  • 1
    Interestingly, studies have shown the value of baby talk with babies. But the main points of your answer still stand. Commented Dec 29, 2016 at 17:46

Firstly, don't worry. 1 year is too early to truly be worried about a child's speech, it's perfectly normal for her not to be talking yet.

Secondly, talk to her. A lot. Constantly. My favourite was always when I took my boys shopping - put them in the seat of the shopping trolley where they can see me, then narrate everything I do.

Here we are, in through the doors - swoosh! I love the way they do that. Left turn coming up here, hold tight! Now, we're in the fruit and veg...what do we need? Well, you like strawberry, don't you, so we'll get some of those, and then...

Keep that up through the whole trip. Even if she's not repeating it yet, it's all going into that fuzzing tangle of neurons she's got firing away between her ears.

During the first years of a baby's development, her brain is busy training itself to recognise everything that's going on around her. Specifically, she's learning what sounds are important and part of language, and what sounds are not. You need to train her ears to hear your language clearly, as well as training her brain to correctly interpret the sounds as words. For this, she needs a lot of input.


In my experience, repeating what the baby is babbling helps them to know communication. Try to imitate the sounds they are making, and soon they will begin to imitate the sounds/words you are making. Although you may not understand what they are trying to say, it is a process for them as muscles are developing for speech. They may very well be repeating what you are saying, it just isn't coming out right.

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