You must be having ‘conversations’ with your child every now and then. ‘Conversations’ because most of the time it’s a case of talking at your child rather than to your child. This is because children have notoriously selective listening skills – they hear what they want and seem to tune out during the rest.
Listening is a skill that we can help our children improve. Like a muscle, it needs constant exercise to grow. Listening is the child’s ability to understand the words he/she hears and to relate to them in some way. When children hear a story, good listening skills will enable them to understand it better. Good l
istening skills at an early age help the child grow up to be good communicators.
Negative impacts of poor listening and attention skills include:
– Poor sound awareness – children
can find it difficult to differentiate between various sounds
– Difficulty with reading
– They will find it hard to socialise
Since we want our children to always stay ahead of the curve, here’s a list of things to follow to help your child develop his/her listening skills:
1) Talk to your child all the time:
Tell them an interesting story. Tell them about your day at work. Tell them your childhood stories. Get in the habit of narrating your chores. By doing this, your children’s attention skills are sure to improve. Also, to add, children are great mimics, so watch your language!
2) Interactive reading:
Read books together. And when reading, ask him/her questions like “What do you think will happen next?” Stop before turning every page and ask what he/she has understood. If he/she is unsure, start again. By doing this, your child’s listening skills are vastly improved.
3) Make up silly rhymes:
The fat cat ate a hat. The rat ate a fat cat who ate a hat.
Now, this may sound weird but it is
indeed helpful. This activity will teach your children to listen for words that sound the same and identify the rhyming pattern. This exercise will help them focus on words, and learn to differentiate between similar sounding ones.
4) Listen to music:
Move according to the music. Create a pattern. In this way, your child will listen closely to the lyrics to understand the pattern. Also, it’s a great exercise! Play listening games like ‘Simon says’. Build up their listening skills by making them listen to short chores and reward them once they complete the same.
5) Watch television shows together:
Switch on your child’s favourite cartoon. Sit with them and later ask them what they understood, what the characters were saying and doing etc. Such an activity, when done in a controlled setting, can help improve & better attention spans.
Listening is one of the building blocks of language and communication. Children with poor listening skills can face serious difficulties like learning challenges, problems in socialising and communications. The Learning Curve has a list of activities to help children better their listening skills. Our ‘music and movement’ class is one of them. With listening skills on point, your child can be assured of a healthy future!