Improving children’s listening skills

Listening is more effective when one is actively involved in what is being said. Net photo

Listening is a very important tool in everyday communication, to understand each other; we need to pay attention to each detail in order for the message to be effective. This is how you can develop a child’s listening proficiency:

Develop reading skills. Children need to listen to each key point in a story at an early age, for instance, when a child hears a new word or reads a word in a book, he or she will memorise it which will  help them train on how to read and pronounce different words in a story.

Know what interests children. Have conversations with children about topics that interest them. This gives them a chance to be a part of a real conversation, practicing both speaking and listening. The conversation has a purpose for the child as it relates to a topic he or she enjoys.

Give children a direction. If you are discussing a topic, allow your children to take a direction and it should be entertaining to make the activity fun. Give them a chance to imitate different people or sound. Let them accompany their words with expression as well, to make their point known easily.

Paying attention. Children have to listen to what everyone else says in order to add something to the story that makes sense. For you to understand, you need to listen carefully to what someone says and why. Remember that you can learn something from a person’s speech.

Good listening, distinguishing between words, learners should take note of mostly similar-sounding words, they ought to know the exact word or sound one meant while communicating. Listening also engages memory skills. In order to be a good listener, a person must be able to recall the details of what was said. You can also play auditory memory games to build this skill.

Promoting active involvement. Listeners are more effective when they are actively engaged in what is being said. For example, let them repeat the same digits or letters or words; that is when they will learn. Practice makes perfect.

Use simple words. Let children know what you mean so that they respond accordingly, don’t use hard terms. In communication, the two parties have to understand each other, you can only understand when a person uses the words or terms or language that is easy to you. Be simple while dealing with children, however, give them chance to also learn what they do not know.

Reflect on what has been said. Children should not be interrupted, or interrupt anyone when someone is speaking, because you can miss out on an important message.

Listen before responding.  Let the child respect someone speaking so that they give feedback when the speaker is done passing his or her message. Active listening is intended to cheer respect and understanding. You are gaining information and perspective. Listen until someone is done speaking so that you ask where you need clarification.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

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