Active listening skills facilitate effective communication throughout life. Children often struggle with listening skills, missing key pieces of information in the communication process. Helping your child improve his listening skills at an early age benefits him in school and in his social relationships. Listening skills also help a child develop his reading skills, particularly when he hears a story as he sees the words on the page, according to Scholastic. Everyday activities give kids a chance to see and practice effective listening skills.
Model active listening skills by looking at your child when she talks to you. Repeat back what your child is saying to ensure that you understand. Modeling proper listening gives your child a reference for her own listening.
Ask your child to repeat what you said after you tell him something. For example, if you asked him to pick up his dirty laundry, put it in the hamper and wash his hands for dinner, have him repeat back the three things he needs to do. This gives him a chance to process what he was told and allows you to make sure he is listening to you.
Have conversations with your child about topics that interest her. This gives her a chance to engage in a real conversation, practicing both speaking and listening. The conversation has a purpose for the child since it relates to a topic she enjoys.
Practice following directions in the form of a game. Give your child a direction, and have him follow it. Make the directions entertaining so the activity is enjoyable. You might have him make a funny face, spin in a circle or walk like a duck. Move to more advanced verbal directions, such as building a tower with blocks using a specific pattern.
Read stories to your child, asking her to predict what will happen next. The prediction requires her to listen to the details to make a logical guess. After reading the story, ask the child to retell the story in her own words. Another option is to have her act out the story with toys as you read it. This makes your child listen to the words and understand what the words mean.
Borrow audio tapes of kids' books from the library. Let your child listen to the tapes as he follows along in the story.
Tell a story together as a group. One person starts the story, adding a few sentences. Each person adds a few more sentences to the story. Participants have to listen to what everyone else says in order to add something to the story that makes sense.
Cook with your child. Read the recipe to her, having her listen to and follow each step in order to complete the recipe correctly.