How can you support your child’s attention and listening skills?
A question that I get asked a lot as an Education and Child Psychologist is, “How can I get my children to listen?” It’s a hot topic for parents with young children. The good news is that in the same way our muscles grow when we exercise them, our listening skills can grow with practice too!
Decades of research has told us that attention and listening skills are crucial during the early years of child development because it is the foundation from which children build their language skills, their learning and serve as a vehicle for problem-solving, leadership, and teamwork.
Now that technology is a part of our children’s everyday lives and screen time has become a fundamental aspect of their learning, it is important to spend time with your child focusing on developing their attention and listening skills off screen.
We know that many children are able to sit quietly and focus on a screen for a long period of time, what people often don’t realise is that this activity only builds on an early stage of attention and listening skills known as, single channelled attention. This involves children engaging with an activity of their choice and filtering out any background noise.
We need to work with children to support them to develop their joint attention as they are unable to do this at a screen. It requires two or more people sharing a focus on an activity, this is great for the development of social skills.
So, how can we support our children to develop these fundamental skills for learning?
There are many activities that you can do with your child, and many of them come in form of fun children’s games, learning through play one of the best ways to learn.
Below are some of the ways you can support your child to build their attention and listening skills.
1. Model Good Listening
Children soak up so much from their environment, they spend a great deal of time observing and imitating the behaviour of adults around them, that’s how they learn. To improve the way your child listens, it’s important to set a strong example.
2. Make sure you have their full attention
Encourage your child to look at you when they listen and say their name to cue them in. It’s important to have your child’s full attention to give them an opportunity to process the words being said to them.
3. Play listening games
Playing specific listening games can be a sure set way to support your child to build their attention and listening skills. Children learn so much through play, it’s important to make sure that it’s fun and interactive to ensure maximum engagement and learning.
If you want to learn more about how to improve the way your child listens and find out about recommended games you can play together, you should tune into our Mindful Monday session on Monday the 8th of February 2021. To register, click here