Active listening is an essential component of learning and is very important for your little one to learn early in their development. Listening intently has a major effect on building the communication skills required both inside and outside of the classroom, not to mention, can help them develop relationships and be a good friend. Most importantly, a child’s ability to actively listen will open the door to many amazing opportunities for them to engage with the world around them.
Parents must work towards making sure their children have well-developed listening skills, which is a necessary tool to equip your child with to be a successful person. When you are actively working with your child to improve his listening skills, you are also helping his attention span and ability to concentrate.
Here are a few tips from top preschools Howell NJ that can help improve listening skills in children during all stages of development:
Be a good listener yourself first- Practice what you preach meaning you must treat your child with the same respect that you would want to be treated with. When your child is talking to you or telling you something, no matter how irrelevant, keenly listen and respond or react. Maintain eye-contact, as then you’d be seen as someone who’s reliable, warm, sociable, honest, confident, and active. Also, focusing your eyes will help you fully grasp what the speaker is saying by helping improve concentration. Also, repeat everything your child tells you, to them, so they get the feeling you’ve fully understood what he or she is trying to say.
Lead by example, respond to anything anyone says the way you would want your kid to respond to you.
Always talk to/communicate with them- No matter you’re cooking in the kitchen or working on your computer, it’s important that you always keep the doors of communication open for your children. Talk to them and make them understand the work you’ve been doing in a way they would understand (in simple terms). Talk to them about any events during your day, and ask them to do the same. Ask them questions, which ensures understanding and shows that you are listening.
Children love mimicking their grown-ups, so as they’ll see your active interest in their conversation, your child can see what an active listener looks like and hence will model their behavior on you.
Encourage follow-up questions- As you read a story with them, ask your kid questions at the end and encourage them to ask any questions along the way if they feel lost, which is a great way to cultivate the skill of active listening.
Play active listening activities- Activities like reading stories to your child, cooking together, having conversations about things your child is interested in, creating a list of questions with your child for him or her to ask you or a sibling, and giving them directions to follow, can play a critical role in helping develop and sharpen your child’s listening skills.
Minimal interruptions- First let the speaker complete his or her thought, only then should you respond, or it can negatively impact an effective communication.
Although children are filled with energy and constantly taking in information in bulk, it’s important for parents to cultivate active listening skills in children from as young an age as possible, which will facilitate good communication skills as the child grows up (or else communication falters). Some other benefits of being an active listener include fewer misunderstandings, more self-reliance, faster work rate, improved productivity, and more.
While your child’s teacher will be working on developing their listening skills at school, there’s plenty that you can and must do at home to help. It must also be noted that kids’ ability to listen depends on a healthy lifestyle overall, including a healthy diet, plenty of active, outdoor play, plenty of real-life interaction with both adults and children, limited screen time, and good sleeping habits.