0-12m Attention and Listening Skills

What is it?

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.

What to expect?

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)

Information & advice

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.