Developmental milestones are a blessing and a burden for many parents. On one hand, it's nice to know whether your baby is growing and learning at roughly the same pace as her peers. But on the other hand, if your baby hits those milestones a little earlier or later than average, then you may feel concerned. You may wonder is it OK if my baby talks early, or does this mean the kiddo is just growing up too fast?
For starters, it's helpful to understand the general timeline for babies and speech. As noted by the Mayo Clinic, most babies will start saying a few simple words by the time of their first birthday. Additionally, most toddlers will speak about 50 words by the 2-year mark, as explained by the Mayo Clinic. So what happens when your little one appears to be ahead of the curve?
Generally, these milestones have a bit of wiggle room built in. In other words, it's perfectly normal for some babies to reach their talking timelines a little early (or even late), according to Baby Center. In general, the only red flags for caregivers come with greatly delayed speech development. Early talkers, however, do not typically create a cause for concern.
In fact, the main concern with early talkers may come in the form of managing parental expectations. This is understandable, because it's only natural to associate speech with understanding. But a kiddo who is able to string together phrases from an early age does not necessarily understand the meaning behind those words. As noted in Medical Observer, as far as early talkers are concerned, it may be easy for parents to react to the kid as though she's operating on a higher level of understanding. In other words, if your kid chases a ball into the street, you may be tempted to launch into a detailed explanation of why that's such a dangerous move. But your kid may not have the faculties in place to understand cause and effect yet. She just wants her friggin' ball.
It's also important to remember that precocious language skills do not equal faster overall maturity. As explained in Parenting, advanced language skills do not mean your kid is also developing at a faster rate emotionally or socially. When it comes to impulse control or reigning in a tantrum, your kid is likely not mature beyond her years. That said, having a budding Chatty Cathy in your home can be a joy, as you get a glimpse into the inner workings of your kid's mind. You can enjoy this time with your talkative child while remembering that she is, in fact, still a kid.