Mon, 22 Mar, 2021
Teach Your Child Active Listening Skills Using These 5 Sure-shot Techniques
Active listening refers to hearing with complete attention and absorbing information as a listener, as opposed to passive listening, wherein the listener hears the speaker’s voice but does not understand the message.
There are various benefits of teaching children to listen actively from the early years –
Active listeners are better communicators and problem solvers.
Children with active listening skills build better reading comprehension in the classroom.
Good listening skills help kids in improving their self-confidence and independence.
Listening skills activities help children develop character, commitment, and leadership skills.
The first step to teaching listening skills is for parents to understand that children may have different inclination levels towards listening. However, with some simple listening activities and continued practice, active listening habits can be acquired and developed in every child.
Here are six ways to teach active listening skills to children –
1. Be a Good Listener
For parents looking to answer the question of how to teach listening skills, the first step is to be a better listener yourself. Whenever your child wants to say something to you, stop and listen to them as respectfully as you can. If you model positive listening behavior in front of your children, they are likely to follow suit.
2. Involve Your Children in Decision-Making
Children who are mostly receiving instructions, advice, or orders from elders tend to tune out after a while. Improve your communication with your child by asking their opinion wherever possible. For instance, ask them to choose the story they would like to read or decide what clothes they want to wear.
3. Encourage Better Communication By Asking Questions
A simple conversation for kids can be made interesting by asking the right questions. Asking questions can help you start better conversations with your children. Asking each other questions provides clarity, gives a better understanding, and shows that you are listening. You could begin by asking the following kinds of questions –
Open-Ended – Questions that begin discussions or help to expand the conversation. E.g. How was your school picnic?
Close Ended – These questions elicit specific responses. E.g. What’s your favourite subject in school?
Leading – Leading questions to help children respond in a particular way or express their opinion on things. E.g. Do you have a lot of homework today?
Reflective – Questions that expand a child’s thinking and prompts them to think more in one direction. E.g. You mentioned that you love playing cricket; tell me more about it?
4. Listening Games
There are various games and activities for listening skills that parents and children can play together. Here are some examples –
Follow the Instructions – Describe a scene and ask the child to draw the scene using crayons. The child needs to listen to you carefully and draw accordingly.
What’s That Sound? – Ask your child to close their eyes while you play a sound, and then ask them to identify the sound. The sound could be clicking your fingers, a vehicle horn, or anything else.
Spot the Change – Narrate a story to your child. Then narrate it again with some changes. Ask your child to spot the changes you made to the story the second time.
5. Limit Interruptions
Waiting for your turn to speak is an essential aspect of being a good listener. Discuss the importance of limiting interruptions and offer the option of raising a hand to voice their thoughts while someone else is speaking.
Children need to know what is active listening and why listening skills are important. Inculcating active listening skills in children from a young age helps them get into the habit of listening with concentration and absorbing information. It allows children to grow up to be good communicators and build better listening skills for life.