• Emma Harris

Rhymes and stories are good for 2 year olds... #listeningandattention

Always remember that children develop at different rates and this is just meant as a guide. As practitioners and parents it is important that we are alerted to any delay in development as early as possible so that we can out in place extra support but if your child is not meeting these expectations at this time then it is not necessarily indicative of any long-term delay.

As your child approaches age 2 then they will usually show more interest in rhymes and stories. Here in the setting we sing the 'Hello Song' twice a day once in the morning and once in the afternoon and quite often children can be heard singing it on an ad-hoc basis too :-)

Usually after the 'Hello Song' we go on to sing a few of their favourite rhymes and songs. Children will begin by being interested in the rhymes and songs but often not joining in to going on to join in with singing and with actions.

We are likely to find that up until a child approaches the age of 3 that they will have what we call 'single-channelled attention'. This is where you may think that they can't hear you or they are ignoring you. It is likely that at this stage in their development that they can only concentrate on one thing and if they are fully focussed on an activity of their own choosing then they will have rigid attention to that and will appear not to hear.

Our tip for this is to ensure that you start what you are going to say with the child's name so that they know you are talking to them which may help attract their attention. You may also couple this with a little tap on the shoulder alongside saying their name which will also help to gain their attention.

Between the ages of 2 and 3 we are likely to notice that children like to listen to stories and we are always reading stories here in the setting, the children just can't get enough which is fantastic. We try and put expression and noises into the stories as we read them and the children are usually really interested in these and will even join in with sounds they know ie. if we are reading a farm book then we will give the children the opportunity to do the animal noises -"oink oink" :-)

Between ages 2 and 3 we would also expect children to hear other familiar sounds such as knocks at the door and sounds that they hear outside for example. We often hear the cockerel down the road and children will be interested in hearing it.

Should I be worried if my child isn't doing these things? As I have already said - not necessarily so there's no need for panic. We will support children to develop listening and attention skills but if it becomes clear that there is a delay in this area then we may suggest additional support. This may include a hearing test to ensure that your child does not have a health issue which is preventing them for listening or we may recommend a referral to speech and language therapy who can help with all aspects of communication and language.

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Little Caterpillars Early Years and Childcare

Emma Harris BA (Hons), Early Years Teacher and Trevor Harris Level 3 Qualified Forest School Practitioner
Ofsted Registered Childminding Provision and Childcare on Domestic Premises, Skellow, Doncaster
07865 979407 or 07918 101286  emma@little-caterpillars.co.uk