Set the Example, Teach Your Child Listening Skills

Listening is not a school subject – but it is very important for success in school.  Children spend 50-75 percent of their time at school listening.

Listening doesn’t come naturally to everyone.  But it is a skill that can be learned.  Research shows that good listeners need to focus their attention and then review important information.  Here are some ways parents can help children become better listeners:

Be a model.  Children know when you’re paying attention.  So forget the telephone and the TV.  Maintain eye contact.  Show you are focusing on what your child says.

Encourage your child to talk.  Some children need an invitation to speak up.  You might say, “Tell me about your day at school.”

Listen patiently.  Even adults think faster than they speak.  Children can take even longer to find just the right word.  Listen as though you have plenty of time.

Listen to nonverbal messages.  Children will send messages with their tone of voice or their energy level.  Look also for changes in your child’s behavior.  These signs may give you a clue that you need to ask deeper questions.

Look for signs that it’s time to end the conversation.  When your child starts to give silly answers, stare into space or ask you to repeat what you’ve said, it’s probably time to stop.

  Parents make the difference!  

Source:  “How Can Parents Model Good Listening Skills?”  

ERIC Clearinghouse on Reading & Communication Skills