The way children listen and understand sounds changes as they grow. Children’s communication charity I CAN describes what this looks like.
Babies can focus on one sound, but easily get distracted. They’re interested in exciting sounds, such as animal noises or sounds outside. They enjoy silly sounds and songs.
Very young children will focus on sounds they’re interested in. They can understand single words, or two words together, such as ‘big car or ‘more juice’. They enjoy action songs they can join in with.
At this age children can only focus on one thing at a time. They need an adult’s help to shift their attention to something else. They can listen to short stories, and still enjoy action songs.
Your child may still focus on one thing at a time (like playing with cars, then turning to look at you.) Children are more able to shift their attention, but may still need help to focus. They can listen to longer stories, and understand when you use longer sentences.
Your child is developing the ability to carry on what they’re doing while listening to you. If they’re doing something tricky, they may need to focus on it completely.
Your child should be able to sit and listen for longer periods of time, and will enjoy longer stories.
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