6 - 12 Months


6 months

  • Babies will start to respond when others are chatting to them.
  • Canonical/reduplicative babbling begins – babies tunefully using repetitive sounds in a sing-song tone.
  • Babies start to understand routines, simple words and activities.
  • Looks around the environment at people, objects and things that are happening.
  • Responds when name is called.

Caregiving behaviours that support the milestone

  • Talk and sing while rocking them, walking with them and doing actions with them, e.g. ‘round and round the garden’, ‘heads, shoulders, knees and toes’.
  • Point out pictures in books and things of interest in the environment around you.
  • Make lots of actions and gestures along with speech - use gestures and actions to help your child understand what you say, e.g. saying “bye bye” and waving.
  • Respond when your baby tries to communicate. Take the time to have “conversations” with your baby with each of you taking turns.
  • Use every day experiences such as shopping or going to the park as a chance to point things out and name things.
  • Use books with textures that your baby can feel.

9-12 months

  • Gesturing and joint attention – baby looks to where another person points.
  • Object play – using every day objects, infants understand they can communicate and share information.
  • Joins in with give-and-take games.
  • Makes requests by pointing44.
  • Imitates playful vocalisations and actions, e.g. cough, smacking lips45.
  • Shows understanding of a few every day object words and words embedded in familiar routines, e.g. bedtime46.
  • Baby’s first words.
  • Understands “no” and “bye bye”.

Caregiving behaviours that support the milestone

  • Gain your child’s attention and talk to them about things as they happen gesturing to increase their understanding.
  • Join in play activities with your child, let them lead the play using objects and toys they are interested in. Talk about the things they explore or look at. Use words and simple phrases and lots of repetition. Tell your child the name of things when they point to them.
  • Play ‘people games’ like ‘Row, Row, Row Your Boat’ and get other family members to join in.
  • Let baby turn the pages in books.
Adapted from: EIF Early Intervention Framework with Input from National Literacy Trust and Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists