Key Milestones (months)


Crying is a newborn baby’s main form of communication.


Seeing a familiar face a baby might quieten or smile - often fascinated by your sounds and facial expressions.


Babies may make cooing, gurgling or babbling sounds…often to themselves!


Babies get excited seeing familiar people and communicate this through sounds, giggles, arm gestures and body movements.


From the moment children enter the world, they use sound to communicate. You’ll notice this in the way that babies’ cries differ depending on if he or she is hungry, wet or tired. From around six months it’s likely that babies will respond to games such as peek-a-boo, be able to wave ‘bye bye’ and recognise different tones of voice.

Within the first year of life, children typically learn to form initial sounds and express emotion through laughing and squealing. By twelve months, it’s not unusual for children to look at your face when you talk to them, turn towards a voice from across the room and exhibit a range of basic gurgling and babbling noises.

Chalk wall


Even at this early stage there are lots of things you can do to encourage children to start communicating with you. Spending time at the same level as babies and being face to face while talking to them is a great way of fostering engagement. Look to see what the child you care for is doing or where their attention is focussed and use simple language to comment – with babies it’s important to avoid complex words. Repetition is also key to helping infants to recognise words, including familiar people’s names, and to understand the meaning associated with those words.

Help & support

Health visitors can provide a great deal of support and are good people to sense check things with in the first instance. Children’s speech, language and communication development also benefits from interacting and playing with others their own age, so we highly recommend inducting in playgroups and activity sessions designed to enhance child development.

Child Reading
General training


Discover our range of free online language resources offering tips you can easily apply with your child at home.

Child outdoors playing


Advance your speech, language and communication understanding using our training resources.