Teaching your child to listen

Have you ever considered what it means to ask your child to listen? That one request is really several rolled into one: Can you hear my voice? Can you listen to the words I am saying? Can you filter out the background noise? Can you look at me? Can you understand the meaning of what I am saying? Can you pay attention to the entirety of my statement?

Value of listening

Surprised little girlListening is a critical skill for young children to acquire. Up to 80 percent of kids’ learning in their early years is verbal. While listening is a building block to language development, it is also connected to all areas of development. Listening is connected to what is heard and what is understood or processed.

A child who is a good listener follows directions at school and at home. A good listener is successful communicating with others and making friends. Young children demonstrate they are listening by looking at the speaker, responding verbally, smiling and nodding.

You must encourage your child and help them practice listening to help them learn this skill. Practice listening skills through everyday experiences including playing with your child.

11 Tips for teaching your child to listen

  1. mom and son talking while tying kid's shoestart a conversation by saying your child’s name first
  2. get down on your child’s level and make eye contact when talking
  3. ask them open-ended questions
  4. talk with your child throughout the day
  5. decrease distractions and background noise when you talk
  6. listen to a book with a CD or a digital audiobook together
  7. sing and read together regularly
  8. ask your child to predict what will happen next in a story and encourage them to re-tell a familiar story
  9. play Red Light Green Light and Simon Says
  10. go on a listening walk and point out sounds in nature or in your neighborhood
  11. attend the library’s storytime

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As the Early Childhood Learning Coordinator, Sherry is focused on engaging young children and their families in play-based early learning experiences. The Learn & Play Bus and its service are at the heart of her work. Sherry has a background in early childhood education.