Generally, babies start saying words between 7 and 12 months of age. On an average, they start constructing coherent sentences by the time they have completed 24 months. So 2 years of age is the time around when babies start forming sentences, as they can say around 50 words and would’ve also mastered two-word sentences.
Having said, every child is unique and will develop at his or her own pace. Some will be a little bit slower and some are a little bit faster, which is normal and it is relative.
Thanks to how nature works, compared to boys, girls actually develop language skills much faster. This may sometimes make a lot of parents of boys get anxious, wondering if there’s anything worng.
Usually, kids will start out by saying the names of only those who are very familiar to them, like “mom” and “dad”. In India for instance, it may be “Amma” and “Appa” in Tamil speaking homes or “Pappa” and “Mamma” in many Hindi speaking homes.
Other than that, they may say certain possessions that are dear to them, like their “car”, or “teddy”, or the pet “doggy”; and will later kind of branch out from there to say longer words.
What Really Matters Is ….
Rather than asking “When do babies start forming sentences?”, the real thing you have to watch out for is if your child is listening to you and understanding what you’re saying. If he is listening well and actively responding to you, then he’s getting what he is supposed it and all is well, and language development will soon follow.
For example, if you tell him to go and get his ball or his shoe, and he does it promptly, it may kind of come as a pleasant shock to you the first time. May be you will be totally excited and jump with joy too.
As long as you are sure he’s getting what you’re telling him, things are fine. Even if he’s not saying anything back to you, yet, it’s okay – as long as he gets what you’re saying and responds to it with the corresponding action.
What you will really rejoice even more is when you start noticing that it will happen more and more in the next 6 to 8 weeks.
But in case he doesn’t seem to have a vocabulary of around 50 words, and is unable to put together two-word sentences even a week or two past the second year, then you should consult with your doctor. But if your child is two or three months short of two years, he’s got some more time to go.
Talk to Them to Encourage Them to Talk
There are a lot of things you can do to encourage your child to say short sentences, even if it is two to three words. For instance, talk to him even if he’s not listening, be it when you’re in the car, or together when you’re engaged in your tasks as home.
Make him be with you, spend time with you, participate in tasks that you do – all while you are talking to him. Just, put your thoughts in words and say it in as simple terms as possible, so that you help him understand. Gradually, start asking him simple questions and encourage him to respond.
You can also show him certain objects and tell him what its name is, its colour, what it is meant for and so on. You may also choose to buy picture books that have just one picture per page, and you can read them to him. You can rest assured he will love it, and that’s when you should start asking simple probing questions.
Just point to the object in the book and tell him what it is. If it is something that makes a sound, tell him how it sounds like and he’ll find it fun and enjoy it lot.
You can also talk to him about the different body parts, which almost all kids have fun with. You can make it more fun and exciting for him by making him touch the parts of his body with his own index finger and say its name. Building vocabulary in your child actually happens when you talk to him about it.
We have covered a list of language development activities, along with milestones, from birth to three years. You can read them here.