3. Support for children aged 6 – 12 months

Children develop skills at different rates but by their first birthday, usually children will:

  • Listen carefully, and turn to someone talking on the other side of the room
  • Look at you when you speak and when their name is called
  • Babble strings of sounds, like ‘no-no’ and ‘go-go’
  • Make noises, point and look at you to get your attention
  • Smile at people who are smiling at them
  • Start to understand words like 'bye-bye' and 'up' especially when a gesture is used at the same time
  • Recognise the names of familiar objects, things like ‘car’ and ‘daddy’
  • Enjoy action songs and rhymes and get excited when sung to
  • Take turns in conversations, babbling back to an adult.

How to Support Your Child

There are lots of things you can do to encourage your child at this stage:

  • Make different sounds to interest your child. This can be varying the sound of your voice or things like a rattle or squeaky toy.
  • Pointing to sounds will help develop your child’s listening skills. This will also help develop their awareness of the world around them.
  • Encourage your child to look at you during activities. This could be dressing, feeding or nappy changing. This will help your child's attention and communication skills.
  • Talk about everyday activities, like getting dressed, eating and bathing.
  • Copy your baby when they are babbling. This is a very good way to show how to take turns in communication. This will encourage them to make even more sounds.
  • Use actions with words. Try waving as you say 'bye-bye' or picking up their cup as you say 'drink'. This will help your child to relate what they see and do with the words they need.
  • Sing action songs and play games like ‘peek-a-boo’ to encourage communication and attention skills.

Things to look out for

Speech and language skills develop from a very early age. However, some children do not develop the early skills they need.

This can be very difficult to spot from an early age. However, you should talk to a GP or health visitor if your child does not:

  • Respond to noises by 9 months
  • Point to things they are interested in by one year