शुक्रवार, 15 सितंबर 2017

How to develop our child’s listening skills

How to develop your child’s listening skills

While your child’s teacher will be working on developing their listening skills at school, there’s plenty that you can do at home to help. One of the most important ways to do this is to break the negative cycle that often develops when a child is a poor listener. Frustrated with being ignored, we end up raising our voices, which effectively ‘rewards’ their behaviour with your attention. It’s more productive to reward good behaviour than to give attention to the bad, by giving your child praise when they do follow your instructions.
Spending time interacting with your child is also essential. ‘The more songs and stories children are exposed to, the earlier they’re likely to develop aural attention,’ explains Sue. ‘The more opportunities you take to sing, move to music and read to your child, the better: learning songs and rhymes by heart is particularly powerful for developing auditory memory, and listening to stories builds up listening stamina.’
Your child’s ability to listen depends on a healthy lifestyle overall. This includes a healthy diet, plenty of active, outdoor play, limited screen time, plenty of real-life interaction with both adults and children, and good sleeping habits, including a quiet, screen-free wind-down period before bedtime. ‘It’s very important to talk to your child and demonstrate what effective listening involves by listening to them yourself,’ adds Sue.
There are also specific activities you can do with your child to help them develop their listening skills. These include:
  • Games like Simon Says and Traffic Lights, which help your child listen and follow instructions.
  • Listening walks, where you take time to stop and pay attention to the sounds you can hear.
  • Clapping a rhythm for your child to repeat.
  • Playing Chinese Whispers.
  • Describing a picture to your child, which they have to draw based on your description.
  • Playing What’s That Sound?, using household objects to make a noise (e.g. shaking a peppermill, deflating a balloon) and getting your child to guess what it is.

Talking so your child listens

The way you talk to your child matters if you want them to listen. Children generally struggle to multi-task, so rather than expecting them to follow a long sequence of instructions (‘Can you brush your teeth, comb your hair, put your homework in your school bag and get your shoes on, please?’), break it down, giving them one or two at a time.
‘It’s also important to use your child’s name to attract their attention, make eye contact, speak clearly and give them plenty of thinking time before expecting a response,’ adds Sue. These techniques are used to great effect by teachers in the classroom.
Although many children struggle to listen attentively at times, some children have particular difficulties. ‘If you think your child’s listening is a problem, get their hearing tested in case there’s a medical issue,’ Sue advises. ‘Some children, particularly those who have lots of colds and snuffles, have intermittent hearing loss which can affect listening skills.’
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