Does your 6 month old…
- turn to the source of sounds?
- startle in response to sudden, loud noises?
- make different cries for different needs — I’m hungry, I’m tired?
- watch your face as you talk?
- smile and laugh in response to your smiles and laughs?
- imitate coughs or other sounds — ah, eh, buh?
If your child does not do one or several of the above, First Words can help! Complete the Communication Checkup or contact Ottawa Public Health at 613-580-6744 or 613-PARENTS for more information.
Also look out for any of these red flags:
- Limited eye gaze
- Limited shared interest in others
- Limited social smiling
- Child is unusually quiet; does not make sounds
- Child does not consistently respond to speech
- Child shows little or no interest in people or objects
- Any loss of social and/or language skills
If you have noticed any of these red flags, your child may be dealing with a developmental issue as well as a language delay and will need more support. An immediate referral to the Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre (OCTC) for a developmental assessment might be required. Contact OCTC at 613-737-0871.
Here are a few quick strategies to help your 6 month old learn to communicate:
- You should be face to face when you speak with your baby. This will help them figure out how to make the sounds you are making by watching the way your lips, tongue and teeth move.
- Imitate your baby’s sounds and add words, gestures and smiles.
- Talk to your baby when dressing, washing and feeding them. Name the objects they are looking or playing with.
- Read to your baby. Anything will do! Babies just want to be close to you and hear your voice.
- Sing songs and nursery rhymes. Sing the same songs and nursery rhymes often throughout your day. If your baby is having fun, sing the song again until they no longer look interested.
- Check out our “Strategies” and “Learning Tools” sections for other strategies and resources!