One of the most important things I’ve learned since my daughter started Kindergarten this year is that being a good listener makes her a better student. I have always known that listening makes a good kid but I never really paid attention to how important listening is for a Kindergartener. My daughter is reading books after saying the words with me one time, she is able to correctly do her homework without asking a million questions because she listens to the directions when they are given, she is able to tell me important details about her day because of how well she listens to everyone and everything around her.
Now this may seem like a natural thing to some parents, you may be thinking “Hello, you are supposed to make you kids listen to you from day one!” My answer to that is “you’re absolutely right” but when I say it’s important for a child to listen I don’t mean the normal day to day “listen to me or you’re in trouble” type of listening, I mean truly focusing on what’s going on around them listening. It’s important that a child learns to focus on what’s being said not just hear the words. I fear that with my youngest I have some work to do because she listens very well but she only hears what she wants to and focuses on just what’s important or beneficial to her! There are a few things that can be done to build better listening skills which are listed below.
Teach your child that no matter what they are doing, when someone starts talking to them all of their attention needs to go directly to that person. You can practice this at home by stopping talking to your child if they are doing other activities while you’re trying to talk to them. Once they are focused on only you then begin talking to them again. You can also help your child by keeping eye contact with them while they are talking and making sure you are clear of distractions when they are trying to tell you something.
Give your child something to do that requires listening and following direction. Something that has “step one, step two, and step three” to it. If the child listens correctly then they will complete the task correctly.
We all learn better when it’s fun so try a few games with your child to help build their listening skills. A good game to start with is the music game. Find objects that make sound, let the child hear the sound while viewing the object then have the child close their eyes. Once their eyes are closed play the sound again and have the child tell you what the sound is.
Another great game or activity is to go on a walk and have your child listen to the sounds and identify what they hear. Kids will love learning through these fun ways and you’ll end up with a great listener on your hands.