Regular monitoring of baby’s hearing is important for their language development as hearing and speaking are linked. Shaking a rattle or whispering promotes permanent language pathways and builds connections in baby’s brain for sounds they’ve heard.

Why do it?

  • Hearing and speaking are linked but hearing starts developing before speech so it’s important for baby’s language development that their hearing is regularly monitored.
  • Baby is interested in sounds made nearby, at around 4 months old they will turn their head towards a sound
  • Connections are being made in baby’s brain for sounds they’ve heard. Repeating them strengthens connections until eventually they become permanent language pathways.
  • By 6 months old, baby has made brain connections for many of the sounds in the language/s spoken in their home, especially the vowel sounds.

How to do it

You’ll need: a rattle

  • If you don't own a rattle you could try making your own from recylced materials. For example, add beads or small pebbles to a small container. 
  • Try shaking the rattle gently to the side of baby and watch how they respond.
  • Try shaking it above them and watch what they do.
  • Try shaking it further away and observe baby.
  • Try whispering to baby — see how they respond.
  • How far away can you go and then whisper to them, and still get a response?

Tips:  Do this activity on the floor. It is best if baby is rested, has been fed, and is in the mood to play.

Using more reo Māori

Te reo Māori English
Titiro mai Look here
Whakarongo, he aha tēnā? Listen, what’s that by you?
Kaua e tangi Don’t cry
Kei te mamae tō puku? Have you got a sore puku?
Kei te pīrangi kaikai koe? Do you want some food?
Kei te hiakai koe? Are you hungry?
Huakina mai tō waha Open your mouth
Anei. E kai Here you are. Eat up
Me waiata tāua? Shall we sing a song?
Kei te hūpē tō ihu You’ve got a snotty nose
Anei te aikiha, me ūkui tō ihu Here’s a tissue, let’s wipe your nose