Younger Infant: Listening and Understanding

Posted by Nate McCallister on December 21, 2015
Dad-Feeding-Baby

“I put the spoon in the cereal. I scoop the cereal. Here comes the cereal,” Dad says to baby as the child opens her mouth to scarf down the scoop.

To talk through routines like this with infants may seem silly at first, but when we do, we help them increase their capacity to listen and understand.

The ability to listen and understand is a key component to healthy development.

Below we’ll look at some examples to watch for in children that illustrate progress, and we’ll cover a few quick tips to help facilitate progress.


Age: 0-8 Months
Domain: Language Development and Communication
Sub-domain: Listening and Understanding


Progress and Support

Younger infants show progress in this area when they

  • watch your hands and face while you talk,
  • look for you when they hear your voice,
  • respond to your voice when you are happy,
  • lift up arms when you say “up” and motion to pick them up.

Use these quick tips to support progress:

  • allow the child a moment to respond after you speak with them (they may respond by cooing or turning toward you),
  • repeat sounds, gestures, or simple language that you hear the infant use,
  • remember to use the child’s name repeatedly in conversation with her,
  • use the same familiar words often when going through regular routines with the infant present.

Do you have some strategies to share? Comment below.


Resources: 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.