Attention and Listening Skills

0-12 Months

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.