9 activities to develop effective listening skills in children
Why is it important for a child to improve listening skills?
Looking for ways to improving your kid’s listening skills? Mothers are exhausted, worrying about how to make their kids listen. They only hear what they want to and seem to tune out the rest of your talks. Listening is a crucial element of learning. It is an important skill to develop even at an early age because good listeners grow up to become good communicators.
Active listening Vs Passive listening:
What happens when your child is not attentive? What happens when he is not actively listening to you? Your child will easily fall into the trap of passive listening.
Passive listening is what we know as “poor listeners” they do not think or understand beyond what the speaker is trying to say. When kids passively listen, they are easily distracted and refrain from the information which is passed on to them.
Active listening requires your child to understand the point that the speaker is trying to communicate. Becoming a better listener is an important skill that students need to actively develop and practice.
Why active listening is important?
Active listening can help in building communication skills which is a must thing to have in this competitive world. It is one of those soft skills like leadership, teamwork, and problem solving which can be learned and developed gradually.
Advantages of active listening include:
• Improved productivity
• Fewer misunderstanding
• More self-reliance
• Faster work rate
What to expect from your child?
To listen attentively is important, but it is not necessary that your kid to be doing it. It takes a long time to develop active listening skills in kids as it involves several aspects.
This includes coordination, ability to control the emotions and social and communication skills. Kids develop listening skills over the course of time. They do better when they are engaged and interested when they are listening attentively.
According to experts at the age of 5- 6 years, they are able to filter out the distractions but can’t focus for more than 10 minutes.
WOWParenting has compiled the list of significant tips here on improving listening skills. Below are ways to improve the child’s listening skills.
1. Maintain eye contact:
Teach your child to make eye contact when talking. You can gradually let them know the importance of making eye contact and how it will benefit them in the long run.
People who can make eye contact while conversing are active, honest, confident, warm, reliable, warm, and sociable. Also, it helps improve your child’s concentration and will make them active listeners.
2. Talk to them:
Tell her interesting stories while making a conversation in the form of examples. This will help them to grasp the concept better over typical communication.
Make a conversation about day to day things like, what you did at work, or how was the day, etc. Make it a habit of narrating the talk in your everyday chores.
For e.g., if you’re in the kitchen when making the lunch, tell them, “to pour 2 cups of water in the rice bowl”. Actively listening will let them understand what you are telling them to do hence, they’ll do the task paying attention.
3. Read stories:
While reading a storybook with your child, ask them several basic questions in the form of making conversation. This will help determine whether your child is listening carefully or not. If your kid feels unsure, you can start again making sure that he is paying attention.
4. Engage your child in cooking:
Find an age-appropriate recipe which makes it easy to read the directions. Make sure that you read out the recipe loud so that your child can do the mixing, pouring, measuring, stirring with complete attention.
5. Ask your child to repeat:
Ask your child to repeat back what the speaker has been saying in their own words. This will ensure that your child has been listening attentively and has understood it well.
6. Borrow audio tapes and listen to them:
To enhance your child’s listening skills, buy audio story books which are nowadays easily available at several online stores and libraries. These audio tapes are interactive and aimed to design better learning and listening material for kids of all ages.
Activities for improving listening skills in children:
1. Make reading an interactive activity:
When reading a story, make small conversation like for e.g. ask “what will happen next”? Let your child explain you in his own language the summary of what he had been listening.
If hadn’t been listening carefully, don’t criticize instead do the reading again. Turn your reading activity into fun and interactive.
2. Ask how the story will end:
Read loudly the storybook with your child and stop at a few sentences making a communication, asking him about what will happen next. Discuss the story ending and ask whether he liked it or not. Ask if he would like to read similar kinds of stories or not.
3. Makeup silly rhymes
This activity will help your child learn to listen to the new sounds and identify the rhyming patterns in the rhymes.
4. Revisit an old favorite:
Bring out your child’s old story books which he loved the most. To learn the movements for each song, it is essential that your kid listens to the lyrics carefully. It is also a great brain coordination exercise.
Playing dressing up games is another best way to improve listening skills. What you can do is dress up your child, also you can invite his/her few friends and have all dressed up to act out in a short play at your place.
6. Read a song together:
Download your kid’s favorite music and read out loud the lyrics together. Now ask your child to follow the lyrics with the music. This improves coordination, helping your child to focus better.
7. Watch a TV show together:
There are varieties of television shows today which are designed keeping in mind children’s motoring development. These shows actively ask parents to participate. Sit with your child to watch TV and ask him to tell you what the characters are saying and doing.
8. Play the follow the directions game:
If your kid is having difficulty in remembering the basic set of instruction it is probably because he is not attentive. Play this awesome direction games which are easy and fun. This will improve his focus and probably once he starts enjoying the game he will learn to listen to it carefully.
9. Play the telephone game:
It is one of the active listening exercises – a brilliant game. Have called a bunch of his friends, and let one kid start whispering some word to another kid’s ear. Now the same word has to be whispered in another, the fun part is the word is at times mixed up. Have the kid who started the game say out loud the original word and check how much the word has misspelled or wrongly passed.
It takes a lot of patience, practice, concentration, and determination to be a good listener. Practicing active listening techniques will help your child improve his listening skills and further helps in becoming a better communicator.