Are you listening? 4 Steps to Improve Listening skills

Listening is one of the most important skills to get ready for a Kindergarten environment. From classroom to the lunch room, many instructions will given to complete. You can give your child a huge jumpstart by practicing this skill way before you every receive that first progress report.

Here are five steps to improving your child’s listening skills-

  1. Ask your child open ended questions not just “yes” or “no” answers. Example, “When we feed the dog, how many scoops of food do we put in the bowl?” “Going to the zoo was fun, which animal was your favorite?” This will open conversation and opportunities to understand when to go to the next step. Active conversation is very important before jumping to step 2
  2. Second step, give instructions on what is happening next in two parts. Before leaving, explain in a couple steps where you are going and what is going to happen. Ask them questions on the way to the destination, next where are we going? This gives your child a way to listen in several parts. A teacher will do the same type of instructions. “We will go down the hall, turn at the cafeteria and go to the playground.” Many children are not prepared for this type of instruction so this will allow your child to have a smooth transitional day easily.
  3. This step is actual practice to be a great listener. Listening seems to happen easier when it’s something we want to do, that is no different for children. We usually give ourselves a “notice” that we will be completing a task by using a planner, to-do list or goal sheet. Children need the same type of notice. One of the ways teachers prepare for listening to instruction is notifying the class what’s next. “As we finish math, put your folders on my desk and line up for lunch”, this is where the first two instructions get lost in translation. Lunch was probably the most important instruction so many jump past the first two steps, finish math and place folders on the teachers desk. By practicing at home, your child will have confidence that they understand instructions clearly.  Give your child a ten minute notice that you will need them to complete two tasks before the most desired task. They will respond more and you will enjoy the results!
  4. The final step polishes off listening skills. Giving instructions several minutes before actually completing. Picking up before you leave for town, gathering items for the trip and explaining the duration of how long it will be before you leave is a great way to practice before Kindergarten. It’s important to follow through with praise for a great accomplishment no matter how small. You can easily build on giving directions, communicating, and gain mutual respect. It’s natural for children to not disappoint someone they respect.

By using skills to build communication and giving instructions, you will set your child in a positive motion for success. They will gain confidence, and by understanding cleaning they can be in a leading position in Kindergarten and beyond!