4 tips to help children listen better


4 tips to help children listen better

The constant talking of elementary school students is impressive. But if you’re having a hard time concentrating on what you’re being told, that would certainly worry you, wouldn’t it? Well, you have to remember that it’s important to improve your listening skills.

Fine-tuning your child’s listening skills serves as a platform for developing the other three language skills, namely speaking, reading and writing. It is their proficiency in these skills that will determine their ability to communicate effectively throughout their lives.

a child on a piece of paper

So, whether it’s basic understanding, auditory discernment, focused listening, critical listening, or empathetic listening, you need to encourage your child to pay attention to what they’re being told. Here are some tips to help you with that.

1. Read or tell stories
What better way than stories to get your child to focus and listen? Certainly not! You can tell him stories, not only at bedtime but also in your free time. As you tell, mix your stories with questions about the characters, the location, and the plot. Such questions will help ensure that he is an “active” listener and not just a superficial listener. You can also nudge him to ask questions; this will hone his critical listening skills as he engages in the story.

2. Have conversations
Having one-to-one conversations with your child provides ample listening space. Research has shown that listening begins in the womb. Even the fetus can hear sounds. Therefore, it is recommended that parents talk to and connect with their child before birth. In the digital age we live in, there is hardly any verbal interaction at home. Put those devices away and spend time talking to your child. Ask him about his school day and tell him interesting snippets from your workday. This will encourage them to listen. Also think about your child’s attention span. It’s pretty limited. So avoid lengthy discussions or boring lectures. Don’t hold monologues with your child. Encourage dialogue. Otherwise your child would not be able to pay attention; his mind would tend to run away.

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3. Participate in fun activities
Board games, cooking, party games – all of these come with instructions. If you engage in such activities with your child, he will make sure he listens carefully to the instructions so he can carry them out. These activities will come in handy when it comes to incorporating listening skill development into real-life scenarios, again with an element of fun. When it comes to activities, don’t forget to listen to songs, sing-alongs, and karaoke. Music can be a great way to improve your child’s listening skills. Games like “Simon Says” or “Pass on the Secret” also help to develop your child’s listening skills.

4. Be a role model
If you don’t listen to your child when they speak to you, or keep interrupting when someone else speaks to you, how can you expect your child to pay attention to you? You have to remember that teaching your child skills starts with you. Your child will emulate what you demonstrate. So be a role model for it by paying careful attention when engaged in conversations. And remember, you can’t pretend to be listening. You should be an “active” listener and contribute with your eyes, ears, mind and heart.

“I like to listen. I’ve learned a lot by listening carefully. Most people never listen,” said the American writer Ernest Hemingway. Do you want your child to be like this great writer or like “most people” who never listen?

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