Good listening skills are important for being able to join in with activities and interacting with others.
The development of listening and attention skills is essential to promote a child’s understanding and use of language.
By 12 months old children will usually:
- turn to a familiar sound (0-6 months)
- watch face as some talks (0-6 months)
- focus on different sounds; such as doorbell/phone (6-12 months)
- Locates source of voice with accuracy (6-12 months)
- Look at you when they hear their name called (6-12 months)
You can help by:
- Always calling your child by name before you speak.
- Approaching your child before you speak.
- Getting down to your child’s level whenever possible
- Encouraging (but not trying to force) eye contact.
- Reduce background noise e.g. turning the off the TV/radio to help your child focus their attention on you.
- Listen to your baby: by talking face-face and then given them time to respond. Babies can learn to take turns by cooing and later produce babbling sounds.
- Talk to your baby: make different sounds , vary the intonation and loudness of your voice. Your baby will watch your face and enjoy listening to your voice . Also using a rattle or squeaky toys can be helpful.
- Play games with your baby: Give your baby noisy toys to experiment with e.g a bunch of keys, a tin tray and wooden spoon. Older babies enjoy games of ‘peek-a-boo’. Play ‘peek-a-boo’ behind your hand or behind a chair.
- Share rhymes: sharing rhymes with your baby is a great way to develop your child’s attention and listening skills. The repetition and rhyming will help your baby listen.
- Look at books: You can use ‘feely books’ and ‘lift the flap’ books to help hold your child’s attention.