After the taxing ordeal of pregnancy, one of the most rewarding moments is when you finally name your baby after months of planning and shortlisting. The parents then eagerly call out the baby by his or her name, initially to make them realize and identify with their name. The first time you realize the baby understanding you can be a very special moment.
It can, however, take quite a few months before your baby starts actually responding to his or her name. Answering and showing recognition of one’s name is a very important developmental milestone for infants and you should look out for its signs. You can make the linguistic sound pattern of your child known to them by repeating the sound their name makes slowly and consistently every day. However, your child will actively begin recognizing your sound only around 6 months to 7 months of age.
In this article:
All You Need to Know About Babies Recognizing their Name
At what age do Babies Recognize their Name
It is a very crucial moment of parenting when your child responds to their name for the first time. Often newborn mothers mistake any form of acknowledgment, like a cooing sound or a smile for recognition of the child’s name. Your child might physically respond to the sound their name makes when you say it as early as two weeks to one month. However, does this mean he or she can recognize their names? Absolutely not. They are responding in such a way because by now they have grown familiar to the sound your voice makes.
Scientific studies indicate that infants start to recognize their names around 6 months to 7 months of age. In a Journal titled Revista Cefac, a 2019 study indicates learning to recognize one’s own name is a crucial developmental milestone during infancy. It shows the level and pattern of hearing and speech development. In a study conducted over 16 infants, 95% of them showed that they recognized their names around 4 months to 5 months of age.
At this age, babies tend to correlate familiar sounds with the objects they see around them. Hence if you point to a teddy bear soft toy and say “teddy” repeatedly, over time the child will grow to associate the sound teddy with the object itself. A 6 or 7-month-old baby can do this, however, they will take 4-6 more months to say the word out loud.
Sometimes parents get excessively worried about spotting every single milestone. It is important to remember that each child has their own rate of cognitive development and some variations in timing are only natural. If your baby recognizes their name slightly earlier or slightly later than others, it does not indicate anything in particular and it is best to not read too much into it.
To make the child associate the sound of their name with the concept that it is the specific noun attached to them, parents should remember to repeatedly use the baby’s name while they are talking to the infant. The baby will then gradually make the connection between the sound and the fact that it is their name.
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How do Babies Start Recognizing their Name
A scientific study proves that during the initial stages of psycho-social development of babies, words which are frequently used with emphasis can help in beginning speech and language and understanding of words in babies. Words uttered in affectionate forms can give rise to recognition responses in infants.
Your child can hear and recognize your voice even when they are in your womb; that is why your child can be calmed by lullabies you sang even when they were inside you. Your baby can understand even the emotion behind the tone of your voice. They can differentiate between affection, anger, happiness, sadness and even anxiety. Hence your emotional connection with your offspring is formed even when your child is in your womb and their neurological and verbal skills begin developing now.
How to Teach Baby to Respond to His Name
Some easy ways to help you teach your baby to respond to his name can be:
- Use your baby’s proper name from their very early months of life to get them familiarized with it fast and easily.
- Reduce addressing them using pet names as it makes recognition of the name difficult.
- Try to talk to your baby daily, not only in a manner that babies speak but also the proper speech as adults to familiarize them with the sound of their name.
- Ask other family members and visitors to refer to the baby in their name.
- Practice speaking their names with them daily. Avoid such an environment with a lot of distraction. Minimal distraction will ensure faster learning of the name.
- Using positive reinforcement, you can try giving the child a small treat like extra time with the toys or something sweet they like to eat to indicate their successful response and encourage it.
Your child learning to respond to their own name is an extremely important developmental milestone, but do not worry and hurry the child too much. In case the baby does not respond to their name even after nine months or a year, it is best to seek proper medical attention to diagnose any underlying condition that would cause this. Each child takes their own sweet time to develop, and although you should be keen and encouraging, enjoy the cute baby talk while it lasts as well!