Why ‘teach’ listening?
In today’s society filled with technology and distractions it has become more and more complex to help children to develop their listening skills.
Helping your child to develop an ability to listen from a young age will assist your child’s social, emotional and intellectual growth.
A good listener is not only popular everywhere, but after a while he knows something.
Fun ways to develop your child’s listening skills
1. Play listening games such as ‘Hotter, Colder’. This is the game where you hide an object in a room and the child tries to find it by the clues. You say ‘hotter’ when they are close, and colder if they are moving away from the object.
2. Arrange a treasure hunt where the ‘finder’ has to rely on oral clues. Start with one step clues and progress to two, then three. One step example: Go out the door. Two step clues eg: Go up the stairs and look in a green box etc.
3. The same technique can be used for giving one, two and three step instructions e.g. ‘get me your book’ is a one step instruction. ‘Go upstairs and get your pyjamas’ is a two step. This also promotes memory skills essential for learning.
4. Similar to the ‘Hotter, Colder’ game mentioned above. This game involves hiding an object. Instead of using the words hotter colder you clap loudly when the child is close to the object and quietly when they are further away.
5. Play ‘tomato ketchup’. Your child closes their eyes and you move quietly to a place in the room. When ready you say ‘tomato ketchup’ (I like to put on a funny voice for this part). You can also change it and say any word. Your child has to point at where you are standing in the room without looking.
6. On some occasions in the day, use a quiet, whispering voice. Your child will really have to listen carefully.
7. Play board games such as ‘Guess Who‘ and any other description style games.
8. Play sound guessing games. Collect and investigate collections of interesting household objects that will make interesting sounds e.g. coins, buttons, sweet wrappers etc. Your child closes their eyes as you make a sound such as wattling the coins. Your child can guess which object created the sound.
9. Encourage your child to listen to everyday sounds as you travel to the shops or go on a nature walk. Talk about all the sounds you hear and try to re create the sounds with household objects, your voices and any instruments you may have at home.
10. Simply reading your child stories is a super way to develop their listening skills. Go a step further and encourage listening by telling them do a funny action every time they hear a certain word. Substitute a word in a familiar story and see if your child picks it up e.g. change the name of a character or animal type in the story.
11. Make your story into a sound story by adding sound effects as you read. Your child could ring a bell to imitate the sound of the doorbell etc.
Everyday remember to reward good listening with verbal praise and rewards. Try to catch your child showing good listening and make a big deal out of it.
Do you know any good listening activities?