You’ve got a one-year old that you are concerned about.  Or, you are pretty happy with how your little munchkin is progressing but just want to make sure that you are giving them the best head start possible. The question is, how do you get your one-year old talking?

Helping develop happy, confident babies & children

Chatterbox has the expertise to help children develop language skills, turning your baby into a thriving bundle of joy.

Please remember all children develop at their own pace.  This post is designed to help your child, if you do have any concerns.  It may also be helpful for parents who are out of ideas on how to continue to help develop language skills.

Looking back at the booklet from last week, here are some of the key skills that we look for in children by the time they turn one:

Receptive Language

Receptive language is the ability to understand words and language. It involves understanding words, sentences and meaning of what is said or read.  Receptive language is a key foundation skill of overall language development. Children with receptive language delay can have difficulties at home, school and at work.

How you can help your child
Respond to familiar sounds, e.g. telephone ringing,
vacuum cleaner
When you hear particular sounds, talk about them with your child and locate where the sound is coming from. If you have toys that make those sounds, get those out and make the sounds again with the objects so that your child can link sound to object.  If you find this to be an ongoing concern, a hearing assessment would be warranted. Children who have had recurrent ear infections and / or frequent colds can be at an increased risk of reduced hearing.
Respond to their own name Use your child’s actual name frequently and limit the use of nicknames, especially if this is a skill your child isn’t demonstrating yet.
Understand simple commands, such as “no“ and “want more?” Use the target words clearly and demonstrate the associated meaning. Use teddy bears / dolls / stuffed toys that receive and obey the command e.g. ask the lion puppet “do you want more?” and then give it more food.
Understand words for some familiar objects
(e.g. blankie, cup) or people
(e.g. mummy, grandpa, etc)
When using a word, ensure you are using it in context correctly. For example, don’t say “bubbles” if there are no bubbles to be seen. Use books, photos, toys and real objects to teach the names of things and people.
Look towards an object or person when you point Use words like “look” to prompt your child to follow your finger. Start with your finger where your child’s gaze is and move towards the object you are pointing out. Help direct your child’s gaze by guiding their head in the direction of the object.


Interaction between babies is important.

Developing early communication skills includes non-verbal interactions such as eye-contact and showing an interest in others.

Expressive Language

Expressive language refers to the child’s ability to generate language to communicate their needs and wants.  It involves the use of gestures, words, sentences and writing to interact with others. Research shows a strong link between receptive and expressive language abilities, and a child’s later development of literacy skills.

Target Skill
How you can help your child
Babble using a range of consonant and vowel sounds
(e.g. “bububu” & ‘gagagaga’)
Imitate sounds that your child is making. Take turns making these sounds. Once the child is engaged, start introducing some variances, for example:

Child: bbb

You: bbb

Child: bbb

You: bububu

Say “dad”, “mumma” and a few other words Listen out for any words your child may be attempting to say. If an attempt sounds similar to a word you think your child is trying to say, repeat the correct word and provide a positive consequence. For example:

Child: Bu (looking / pointing to a ball)

You: Ball! Great talking, you said ‘ball’ (using specific praise – see general strategies for more on this).

You: give the child the ball

Try to make familiar sounds, such as car and animal noises When playing with your child, make lots of animal and vehicle sounds. If your child attempts to imitate you, recognise and praise the sound e.g. “yes, a car says brmmm. Brmm, brmm (as you drive the car).

General Strategies

  • Get down to your child’s level ensuring that they can see your eyes and face.
  • Playing with your child is so important. Have fun while playing with your child.
    • Allow the child to play with the toy/s that are of interest to them (even if it’s not what YOU had planned to play with).
    • Observe what interests your child and build on these interests.
    • As adults, we often get bored of toys quicker than the child. Be guided by your child about when it’s time to change toys.
  • Use lots of specific praise when your child makes any attempts. This tells the child that you are listening and exactly what skill you are aiming for and gives them a reason to try again.
  • Sing songs and help your child do the actions e.g. Incy Wincy Spider; Pat-a-cake.
  • Read to your child as often as possible. Even if your child only sits for a couple of minutes, they are gaining valuable exposure to books. Pick books that have bright colours with a few large pictures on each page. Books are a great way to teach new vocabulary and concepts.
  • Talk about what you are doing as frequently as possible. Your child may not appear to be listening but is likely absorbing new information all the time. One day, they will come out with a word you didn’t think they knew or understand a word you haven’t specifically taught and that is such a great feeling!
Reading with your baby is so important

Reading has endless benefits. Chatterbox can provide you with ideas on how to read with your child.

You may want to seek professional input from a speech pathologist if your child:

  • Has little or no babbling
  • Does not respond to familiar voices
  • Shows little or no recognition of names of common people, objects, action words

How we can help:

If you find these strategies are not helping your child progress, you may want to contact a speech pathologist.  At Chatterbox Speech Pathology, based in Stirling, we can provide lots of practical strategies to help support language development.  Our assessments provide insightful information about the things your little one is great at and areas that we can support.  We make therapy fun for the child and give parents realistic goals to consolidate at home with practical ideas on how to develop the goals. We provide parent coaching to increase your ability to support your child.

If you would like any further information, please feel free to contact Kunali on 0405 176 931 or Email me.

I hope you have found some useful information about getting your one year old talking in no time. Next week, we will discuss what to do for your two year old. Have a great week!

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