Teaching New Words

At age 1, babies start to learn simple words, and you can help that process along!


During bath time or while changing clothes, name your baby’s familiar body parts—“nose,” “foot,” “hand”—as you point to his and your own nose, foot, and hand. When reading books together, point out body parts on the characters and name the animals, objects and colors pictured.

Your child will learn that words can describe categories of objects as well as individual objects.

After the first year, toddlers pay more attention to the words for objects and actions used by the people who talk to them. They learn words fastest when parents look at and label the object that they (toddlers) already find interesting.

If you talk to your child using complete thoughts, not “give it to me” but “give me the ball,” your child’s language will become more fully formed and have a richer vocabulary.

One study showed that saying new words next to a familiar word—such as a baby’s own name—may help your baby learn them faster.

Disclaimer: This page is not intended to provide medical advice about your child. Always seek the advice of a physician, qualified healthcare provider or child-development specialist with any questions you have about your child's health, medical condition or development. Never disregard, avoid or delay contacting a doctor or other qualified professional because of something you read here.

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