When do babies recognize their name
Your baby will hit many milestones in the first year, including recognizing their own name.
This milestone in language development usually comes sometime between 4 and 9 months. But not all babies, even siblings, will reach this milestone at the same time.
Here’s more about how you can help your child learn their name, as well as when you should contact your pediatrician if you have any concerns about possible developmental delays.
Signs a baby knows their name
You may have noticed that your baby looks at you when you speak. Babies do this early on, even before they’re capable of knowing their names.
So, how exactly can you tell if your child recognizes their name? Well, it’s tough. And you can’t necessarily know for sure.
First, consider your baby’s age. While some babies are able to recognize their names as early as 4 to 6 months, most should reach this point consistently by 7 to 9Trusted Source months.
Second, take note of consistency. Your little one should turn to look at you or vocalize (make noises) when you say their name.
So, pay attention to your baby’s body language and any sounds they make. If your baby consistently turns toward you, vocalizes in some way, or shows some other sign of recognition, your child probably knows their name.
Helping your baby recognize their name
You can help your child learn their name in a few ways. Don’t fret if these methods don’t work right away. Again, all babies reach milestones at different times. Your baby is moving at their own pace.
Try repetition. When you’re interacting with your child, use their name frequently. Say things like “Charlotte, would you like your bottle?” or “It’s time to change your diaper, Sammy!” Regular use of your baby’s name in conversation may help it click over time.
Eliminate distractions. Perhaps there’s just a lot going on and your baby isn’t tuned in. Try moving to a quiet room. Give your baby a toy to play with and watch for a while. Then, see if your baby responds when you say their name.
Change your tone. Pediatric speech-language pathologist Laura Mize suggests changing your tone of voice when you call your baby. Try a singsong voice or an excited whisper of their name to see if that gets your baby’s attention better than your standard speaking voice.
Use photos. Consider making a photo book or just looking through photographs with your baby. Point to the people you see and say their names. Do the same when you come to a photo of your child. You can say things like “Look at Elizabeth’s beautiful blue eyes!” or “That is a nice hat that Marco is wearing!”
When will baby say their name?
Over the course of baby’s first year, they’ll likely recognize their name before they will be able to say it. This is because understanding speech and talking are different skills that evolve over unique time lines.
While your baby may recognize their name as early as 4 to 6 months, saying their name and the names of others may take until somewhere between 18 months and 24 months.
Your baby saying their full name at your request is a milestone they’ll likely reach between 2 and 3 years old.
What can you do to help?
Toddlers may enjoy playing the What’s your name? game. It’s simple, really. Start by asking: “What’s your name?”
Then, immediately answer by saying your little one’s name slowly and clearly. Over time, you may find your child answers before you do.
Keep in mind that some names are easier to say than others. For example, Bob or Ann may be easier on the tongue than Xavier or Gwendolyn. If your child’s name has multiple syllables, consider creating a short nickname to use until your child’s speech sounds are better developed.
When to seek help
It’s a good idea to contact your baby’s pediatrician if your little one doesn’t consistently respond to their name by the time their first birthday rolls around.
Your child’s doctor may suggest you have your little one’s hearing checked or that you schedule an evaluation with Early Intervention Services to see if you qualify for free therapy with a speech-language pathologist.
Researchers of a 2017 studyTrusted Source suggested that not reaching this milestone by 12 months may be an early marker of autism, social communication issues, or other developmental delays. It could also stem from hearing difficulties or a type of language disorder.
When Do Babies Recognize Their Name?
This development is a sign that the language building process is underway for your baby.
By Christian Dashiell Apr 09 2021, 3:30 PM
Your Interactive Infant
It doesn’t take long for infants to begin responding to the world around them. They will turn towards their mother or father’s voice almost from the outset and they will smile at smiling faces. And that sometimes leads to assumptions.
Parents may think their baby is responding to their name as early as four months, but that is probably not the case. They’re more likely giving attention to a familiar and comforting presence. But that’s good too! It’s a sign that their hearing is working well, they are exhibiting muscle control, and they are forming an attachment to you. Feel free to soak up the warm and fuzzy emotional payoff!
That said, typically, a baby will not recognize their name until around six months after they are born. It’s a key milestone and an early indicator of appropriate development — a sign that your baby is starting to work toward separation and independence. And while neither of those qualities will be fully realized until four or five, the process of baby realizing that you and they are separate beings is taking root during these early months.
How to Help Your Baby Learn Their Name
Between five and nine months old, your baby will start responding to their name instead of simply responding to your voice. Using their name repetitively tends to be an effective way to help them acquire and strengthen this ability once they are ready.
An affectionate tone of voice, warm facial expressions, and avoiding the use of nicknames will all help your baby associate their name as their own while helping them link you with love and safety. Talking your way through everyday parenting activities like diaper changes, feedings, and playtime while referring to your baby by name will encourage both object specificity as well as general language acquisition.
What If My Baby Doesn’t Respond to Their Name?
If by nine months old your baby isn’t responding to their name, pay attention to how they are communicating and discuss it with your healthcare provider during their one-year checkup. A simple response-to-name test administered by a trained professional is an effective tool for identifying and treating possible developmental disorders.
“From a speech and language perspective, issues with name recognition can be a sign of receptive language issues as well as a delay in social-communication skills,” says Dr. Caitlin Raaz, Assistant Profesor of Audiology and Speech-Language Sciences at University of Northern Colorado. But the good news is that there are a variety of interventions.
“The majority of early intervention models are parent/family-centered,” notes Dr. Raaz. “This means that the therapist primarily works with the parent, providing training and support so they can act as the child’s therapist. This model can be extremely effective because a parent is a child’s first and most important teacher.”