Communication Development: By 1 Year

Communication Development: By 1 Year

Here is some information about how children's communication skills usually develop by the age of 1. Below are some activity suggestions to encourage communication from 1 year. Use the language that you are most familiar and comfortable with.


By 1 year, what should my child be able to say and do?


May be starting to use some single words. 

Knows the names of familiar things, such as māmā and teddy.

Uses their words and gestures to be social, to ask and to show.


Responds to common words such as "no!" and "bye bye".

Will show you objects to get your attention.

Enjoys repetitive games with others, such as 'peek a boo'.

Takes turns in conversations with adults by babbling; for example, "mumma mumma" 

Is starting to show an interest in looking at pictures in books 

Enjoys listening to songs and nursery rhymes

What are some tips to help my baby's communication development at 1 year?

  • get face to face with your baby
  • reduce background noise when playing and talking with your baby; for example, turn off the TV
  • copy your baby's babbling and take turns in a 'conversation'
  • talk to your baby when doing things together; for example, bath time, mealtimes

If you would like to look at anything in more detail, this list of references might be a good starting point.


The content on this page has been produced in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and adapted from Much more than words | Manuka takoto, kawea ake (2014).

This page last reviewed 08 December 2023.

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