Older Infant: Listening and Understanding

Posted by Nate McCallister on December 22, 2015
Infant hand cupping ear.

One thing we can do to help older infants develop their ability to listen and understand is shush up.

At times, instead of waiting for a child to respond to our words, we assume they can’t and we continue talking instead of pausing to wait for a response.

Often, however, if we wait a few moments, the child will respond. When we pause to let the child respond, we help the child learn to listen and understand.

Examples of progress in this area and quick tips on how to support it follow.


Age: 8-18 Months
Domain: Language Development and Communication
Sub-domain: Listening and Understanding


Progress and Support

Older infants show progress in this area when they

  • look at people who call their name,
  • respond to familiar voices with excitement,
  • show interest in people’s invitations to eat or play,
  • look for a toy if someone says “look, there’s the toy.”

Use these quick tips to support development:

  • wait for a response when you ask the child a question,
  • watch to see the child’s response to different tones of voice or gestures,
  • listen for and support the development of the child’s home language,
  • provide experiences with many people who use varied styles of speaking.

Got some quick tips of your own? Don’t be afraid to share in the comments section below! 🙂


Resource: Minnesota’s Early Childhood Indicators of Progress, 2007

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Author: Nate McCallister

Nate McCallister started with SonShine Learning Center in 2003 as a preschool teacher. Today, he works as the organization’s financial director and is the site director at the Luther location. He earned a bachelor’s degree in technical communication and professional writing from Metropolitan State University and studied early childhood education at St. Paul College.