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Going Home - Your Baby's Development

Attention and memory skills

A child’s attention span develops gradually. Paying attention can be hard for most children. If your child has poor attention skills, they will take longer to develop speech and language and will experience difficulties learning new skills. Play is a very useful activity to help develop your child’s attention skills.

To pay attention your child needs to be alert and free from background distractions – noise, over bright lights, hunger. Turn off the radio, TV or mobile phone when interacting with your child.

It is easy for children to get bored and to lose interest. It helps to keep activities short and focus on play that your child is interested in.

Eye contact and play will help improve your child’s attention skill

Attention and memory skill development at 2 years and older

  • Take out one or two toys to play with at a time. Your child will be less distracted.
  • Make sure you have your child’s attention when you are giving them instructions on how to use a toy or puzzle board. Use eye contact.
  • If your child isn’t paying attention, gently hold their head up to make eye contact and repeat the instruction.
  • Repeat a simple nursery rhyme daily until your child can say it with you.
  • Read a very simple story and have your child repeat the story back to you.
  • Review events of the day with your child at bedtime.
  • Play the memory game with a fun deck of cards starting with three pairs and building up gradually to more pairs as your child improves.
  • Play a memory game with objects, e.g. place 4 objects on a tray, let your child look at these for 1 minute, cover the tray, take away an object, uncover the tray and ask what is missing.


Make sure that you have your child’s attention and engagement when you are giving them instructions on to use a toy or puzzle board.

Most importantly, do not over stimulate your child, as you will make fun and learning a chore instead.