Hearing and listening are two different actions: hearing is passive and listening is proactive. Being able to actively listen to sounds, music, instructions forms the basis of concentration. Parents can have a big influence on their child’s concentration by encouraging active listening games and especially encouraging quiet time where baby and parent sit and listen to music together,
How do you know if your baby is listening? For a young baby their reaction when listening is to calm and be still and possibly turn their head towards the source of the music. As they get older the reactions will either be the same (sitting still and concentrating) or perhaps wanting to move or sing along. If your toddler is a fan of a particular nursery rhyme you may find them joining in. The more you practice this at home the more you will really help to reinforce this skill.
It’s not just listening to music that can help with listening and concentration. It’s very easy to ignore natural sounds within our environment. Despite our noisy world it is important to try to give babies experience of hearing birdsong, or the wind in the trees or even silence (they need some quiet time with a parent away from the TV, radio and siblings). As a parent you should just sit, or rock your baby or toddler, make eye contact and smile.
As your baby grows through infancy into a toddler and young child their levels of concentration will increase. It is very important that parents give their babies plenty of opportunity to play quietly with their toys without disturbing their concentration. Practice makes perfect when gaining new skills or understanding of the world and this takes time, persistence and concentration.
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