Your Baby & Toddler - - BABY FILES: TODDLER -

Your baby’s lis­ten­ing skills form the ba­sis of many de­vel­op­men­tal mile­stones, such as lan­guage and speech, so­cial de­vel­op­ment and cog­ni­tive abil­i­ties


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.


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.


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.

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