Toddler: Listening and Understanding

Posted by Nate McCallister on January 3, 2016
Smiling Toddler

For many, it is a joy to watch toddler’s language and communication skills emerge. It is essential that children develop these skills.

As their ability to communicate improves so does their ability to influence others. Which, in turn, helps nurture other areas of development as well.

Below are some examples of progress in this area and some tips you can use to help support it.


Age: 18-36 Months
Domain: Language Development and Communication
Sub-domain: Listening and Understanding


Progress and Support

Toddlers show progress in this area when they

  • laugh after hearing a funny rhyme or word choice,
  • mimic animal sounds they here,
  • follow simple instructions like “wash your hands for snack please,”
  • comfort others who are hurting by giving them a hug or kiss,
  • engage in simple conversations with caregivers.

Use these quick tips to support development:

  • read to the child,
  • allow the child to get outside into the neighborhood,
  • provide opportunities for the child to hear the sounds of animals,
  • give simple one-step instructions and acknowledge the child’s progress “oh, I see you put your coat on all by yourself,”
  • describe simple routines to the toddler,
  • draw attention to the child’s attempts to communicate.

I bet you can think of some quick tips of your own too.


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

Profile photo of Nate McCallister

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.