Teaching your child the art of listening will assist him, to not only listening to you but aid him in learning to communicating with others. Good Listening skills take practice. It’s never too early to enlist your kids in active listening exercises.
Be An Effective Listener Yourself
Be an effective listener yourself. It is the first key to teaching your kids the art of listening. Turn your full attention to your child while he’s talking to you. Look at him directly when you’re having a conversation. If you look out the window, or you’re visiting with someone else, it gives him the message you find what he has to say unimportant.
Give Simple Directions
Give age appropriate directions when you ask your child to do something. “Please, put on your shoes.” This is a simple and direct request that a young child can clearly understand and accomplish. Again, making eye contact with her is essential for getting your point across and helping her to be an active listener.
Mean What You Say And Stay Consistent
Following through with what you say is as important as what you’ve said. In other words, don’t say something you don’t mean. Relenting and giving in sends a message to your child that he doesn’t have to listen, nor believe what you have to say.
Sometimes Just Whisper
A fun listening activity is, changing your voice level. If you say, “Shhhh ….Listen,” then soften your voice to a whisper, it will grab his attention immediately. Whisper, “I love you.” Whisper directions and instructions. The change of your voice level will often cause a child to sit up and take notice because it’s out of the ordinary.
Play Fun Listening Skill Games
To improve listening habits, play listening skill games. A good time to play a “Listening Skill Game” is when you’re in the car. “What does the engine of our car sound like?” Let them vocalize what they hear. “Who can hear a ticking in our engine?” “The first person who can tell me the name of the song I’m singing, wins.” Also, let them ask the questions and you be on the listening end. This type of listening game will assist your child in listening for details.
Read A Book To Your Child
Reading to your child will improve listening. Reading directs focus from the outside world to the pages of a book. A young child’s attention span is not be very long, so make sure the book is short. Discussing and pointing out details in the pictures will hold her interest. If you’ve read the book before, noticed how she wants you to tell the story and talk about the details in the exact same way you did earlier? It shows you she’s been listening. Foster those listening skills by reading to your child often.
Compliment Good Listening
“Thank you for being such a good listener.” Praise is always welcome, and will reinforce your child’s desire to be a good listener. “Thank you for putting on your shoes the first time I asked you.” Small rewards, such as a hug, a kiss, a pat on the back, will reinforce your compliment.
Remember… your child is never too young to begin teaching the art of listening.
P.S. Active listening exercises will certainly help your kids develop the art of listening. Good listening habits are not only of value to you as a parent, but will be invaluable to your child as he grows and interacts with teachers and eventually, employers.