Improving the Listening Skills of Children
Do you find yourself repeating things?
Getting a child to listen can be one of the greatest challenges that a parent has to face early on. Indeed, one method that parents tend to employ is to simply repeat the same instruction over and over again. You might find yourself saying, “How many times do I have to tell you…?” This rarely, if ever, helps the child to learn what they have done wrong, because the answer to the question is a number! It has nothing to do with what you wish to communicate to the child!
Indeed, you might have reached the point where you have said the same thing to your child so often that you have forgotten that there may be other ways to get your child to listen to what you are saying. Remember – listening skills begin at home early on. People with poor listening skills are rarely successful in life. This is why it is vital to learn how to train our children to become better listeners.
Of course, it is a lot easier to simply repeat yourself rather than try to find new ways of getting your child to listen. Everyone does it, but the truth is, it is a rather lazy way of teaching listening skills – and not a very effective one, as so many of us know. Thus, it is vital to get creative and change that bad habit. Let us take a look at some of the creative ways we can teach our children to listen to what we are saying.
Do you command your child to listen?
“Stop doing that and listen to me!” This is an angry command that a lot of frustrated parents find themselves shouting at their children. Children like to play, and it is vital for their development as human beings. But oftentimes, they get so involved in whatever they are doing, that they do not stop once we wish to communicate with them. You might find that there is so much racket from their toys that you have to shout in order to make yourself heard.
Not only is this counterproductive when it comes to teaching them listening skills, it can also stress you out in an unnecessary fashion. If you want to communicate with your child, go to their room and stand in the doorway until they become aware of your presence.
Do not say anything until they have stopped doing whatever it is they are doing and acknowledged your presence. You will find that it usually will not take them very long to do so. There is no need to command your child to listen to you – your very presence on its own will command their full attention.
Before starting off with whatever it is you wish to communicate, there are things you can do to ensure that they will listen well to whatever it is you wish to say. This is an important skill to teach children from a young age – after all, everyone can listen, but those who are able to listen well are the ones who grow in to successful adults.
If your child is in the middle of drawing a picture for example, compliment them on how pretty it looks. This will put them in a good mood, and make them more receptive to whatever it is you have to tell them next. Positive reinforcement is key to teaching children how to listen. It also ensures that their reaction will be positive.
Do you ask “counting questions”?
These are questions such as “How many times do you I have to tell you…?” Rather than compelling the child to reflect on what he or she has done wrong, this leads them to try to count the number of times they have been told to do something, thus confusing the issue at hand. Instead of asking them such questions, try to have a conversation with your child about what he or she is doing wrong. Do not be angry or demanding. Try to discuss it in a rational manner that will lead your child towards reflecting on what they have done wrong. This will surely impel them not to make the same mistake in the future.
Do you “sound like a broken record”?
A lot of parents use this statement when expressing their anger towards their kids. Parents seem to forget that in this digital day and age, most kids do not even know what a broken record is! This confuses them more than anything. It also communicates to the child that something about you is “broken,” which fills their mind with negative impressions. If your child is unmotivated towards performing a specific task, then find creative ways of gaining their interest. Turn it in to a game.