Feeding/Eating Activities to promote
speech and language development
By 3 Months Seems to recognize
voice and
quiet when crying.
Startles to loud sounds.
Smiles when spoken to.

Produces different cries for varied needs.

Coos and gurgles.

Long sequences of
uninterrupted sucking,
sucking from breast
or bottle.

Feeding, bathing and dressing are good times to share facial expressions and connect using eye contact. Sing and talk to your baby throughout the day.


Talk with your baby about what is happening throughout his/her day, foods he/she is eating and places they visit.

Infants will enjoy spending time on your lap while you look through picture or first books. These early experiences may lend themselves to an early, inquisitive reader!

Sing songs; incorporate songs with finger play and movement (e.g. Itsy Bitsy Spider, Wheels on the Bus).

Name objects and actions in colorful books and ask your baby to point to the objects.

Play games where your baby can imitate your gestures, sounds or words.

Imitate your baby’s gestures, sounds, and words.

Use short, simple language.

Talk to your baby during all of the activities you do together, telling him/her what you are doing, where you are going and describing the world around you.

Respond to your baby’s speech as if everything he or she says is meaningful.

By 6 Months

Looks for source of new sounds.

Attends to music.

Discriminates between angry and friendly voices.



Attempts to interact with an adult.

Tolerates introduction of
drinking from a cup without a lid.

By 6 months, cereals and purees may be introduced.

By 12 Months




12-17 Months




By 18 Months



Attends to new words.

Understands simple questions.

Begins to respond to
familiar requests.

Understands his/her name.

Consistently responds to being told “no.”

Follows simple directions like “give” and “get.

Recognizes pictures of familiar objects and people.

Understands 50 words.

Identifies six body parts or clothing items.


May have one or two words.

Imitates some speech sounds.

Uses speech to gain attention and keep attention.

Plays Pat-a-cake or “So Big!”

Imitates familiar words.

Uses common words like “Mama” and “Dada” and other nouns.

Uses 10 to 20 words.

Talks more than using gestures to communicate.

Imitates words overheard in conversation.



Easily eats chopped
table foods.

Less spillage when
drinking from an open cup.


Transitions from formula or breast milk to cow’s milk.

Develops a more mature chewing pattern to eat a diet similar to an adult’s.

Movements seen during cup drinking and chewing are smoother and more refined.

Mealtimes are neater.





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