6 Ways to Improve Children’s Listening Skills, Plus Games!
We hear with our ears, but listening happens in the mind.
Hearing, we receive sounds. Listening requires more work. While hearing is an ability, listening is a learned skill easiest taught when children are young. The following suggestions can be used anywhere.
- Let them choose the topic. If they expresses interest in a topic, show that you are interested, too. Be enthusiastic. Smile. Lean in. Ask questions.
- When they rushes in full of excitement, wanting to talk, try to stop what you are doing and give them your complete attention. This sets a wonderful example, showing them how to listen actively when someone else has something to say.
- Once a day, set aside sharing time—no electronics allowed. Chances are this sharing may become a good habit.
- Tell them what you want and ask questions at a level that they can understand. If the message is too difficult, they will zone you out.
- Match your body language with your verbal language. Saying one thing while doing another is confusing, especially for young children.
- Pantomime actions when telling a story. This helps them look and listen at the same time as well as keeps their interest.
Children who are good listeners frequently grow up to communicate well with others. This important skill needs exercise, just like a muscle, to grow stronger.
This site has 15 listening games and 5 apps for young children.
Embedded within this slide share site are some interesting suggestions for improving listening skills. My favorite in this group is Running Dictation. Students are put in pairs: A & B. All students gather on one side of the room. Reading material is on the other side. Student A runs, reads, runs to student B, and tells him/her what is remembered. Student B listens and writes down what’s been dictated. Continue until dictated correctly. This is a great activity for playground or gymnasium—a grand way to combine Language Arts with Physical Education.