If you ever doubted your child's hearing ability you are not alone. Just today my son didn't hear me when I asked him to bring the dog in from the backyard when I was five feet away, but surprisingly overheard a private conversation about his sister's birthday celebration. We may joke about selective hearing, or get disproportionately upset over our child's ability to tune us out, but working on listening skills is an important part of development.
Build listening skills in order to prepare your child for school. Children who know how to listen to instruction and remember orders are a step ahead of those who have not managed to harness this skill.
Break bad habits. Teach your child to avoid interrupting others when they are speaking. You can model good listening habits by stopping what you are doing when your child is talking to you. Look into the speakers eyes and do not finish sentences.
Read books aloud to build listening skills. Story books can be a good way to build listening skills. Take the time to read to your child. Ask questions as you go along to keep your child engaged in listening. Books on tape, or CD, are also good ways to help a child focus on words.
Play games to build listening skills. When my daughter was a toddler her favorite game did not include a ball or a doll; just a small blanket on the floor. My little girl would stand on the blanket and wait for instruction. I would tell her to touch her toes, move back two steps, jump forward one step, or other simple directions. You can try the same game, or simply see how many steps your child can remember. Start by giving two or three orders in a row, and then gradually add more.
Practice rhyming in order to build strong listening skills. Help your child hear the nuances in words by practicing rhyming. You can pull out silly poems to help engage your child into making their own silly sentences.
Different sounds, different times. Make a point to stay quiet and still for a few minutes each day. Turn off the excess noise in order to listen to all the different sounds. Ask your child to pick out and identify the variety of sounds. For example right now, I can hear a lawnmower, my fingers on the keyboard, an airplane and crickets. See what your child can hear in the early morning compared to lunch time, or bedtime. Listening skills are built when your child has the opportunity to practice.
More by Sylvie Branch: