Attention and listening skills are one of the building blocks for communication development. Use the ideas below to have some fun while helping your child with learning to listen.
- Listening walk. When walking down the street stop talking for a moment. Spend a short time listening. When you have stopped listening talk about what you heard. What was making all those noises? If one person heard a noise that others didn’t then spend a few more seconds listening. Can you hear it now?
- Noisy treasure hunt. In another room hide something that makes a noise. Ask your child to find the object. An alternative is to set a quiet ring tone on your mobile, hide it and then call it from another phone.
- Learn the words to a song together. For younger ones it can be nursery rhymes, but pop songs can also work well. Learning songs involves taking turns and communicating as well as listening.
- Special time. Give your child a special gift: your time! Let them know for the next 15 minutes you are just going to listen and play with them. You will need to turn off your phone. Make this part of your routine and it can become a really relaxing time for you as well.
- Find a quiet space. For children to develop listening skills they need to practice them. In busy family lives there is often little quite time. Try and reduce distracting noise. If no one is watching the TV, turn it off. If you are reading a story to your child try to find a quiet space; children need to concentrate carefully to understand and follow stories, especially when there are new concepts and vocabulary.