Your baby’s listening skills form the basis of many developmental milestones, such as language and speech, social development and cognitive abilities
0 TO 12 MONTHS WHAT’S THAT SOUND?
Your baby’s sense of hearing developed in the womb and continues to develop as she grows. When she’s a young baby, you’ll notice she loves the sound of your voice and tries to interact with you. This forms the framework for later language development, so “chat” to your baby as much as possible. While listening to your voice, she also learns to locate the source of the sound.
As she gets older, your baby’s listening skills will be more refined, and she’ll just love making a noise. To encourage her to learn how to identify different sounds, fill a variety of small containers (that have tightly fitting lids) each with dry rice, macaroni, dry beans, buttons and other small items that will make a noise. Give these shakers to your little one, and watch as she discovers the different tones each makes when shaken. This exercise also encourages your baby’s sense of rhythm, another part of language development.
12 TO 24 MONTHS CLAP THOSE HANDS
Play a simple clapping game by showing your baby how it’s done. Start with something simple, such as clap, pause, clap again. Repeat this a few times until she gets it. You can even work out a little song. As she gets more proficient, you can increase the difficulty – clap with both hands, then on your thighs, then both hands again.
Playing clapping games with your little one helps to strengthen her future cognitive abilities, such as thinking, writing and literacy.
Because your baby has to remember the rhythm of the clapping, her memory is engaged to its full potential. This also tests her perseverance.
Reaching out to touch her hands with yours also develops her hand-eye coordination. That’s a lot of learning!
Hand-clapping games start at this age and continue right through primary school. As she grows, they’ll become more complex and continue to challenge her.
24 TO 36+ MONTHS MUSICAL CHAIRS
Your tot should be able to follow instructions at this stage. Play a simple version of musical chairs with her to encourage this.
Gather a few of her friends around, and arrange a few chairs in a circle. Put on some music, and ask them to dance around the chairs. Tell them that when the music stops they must stop dancing and sit on the chair nearest them. Then pause the song at different places, so that they have to run to the nearest chair.
At this stage, make sure there are enough chairs for everyone. As they get older, you can decrease the number of chairs, so that the last one standing when the music stops has to sit it out.