As a teacher and a principal, I was often asked by parents what they can do to prepare their child for school. People were always surprised that I didn’t answer with pre-reading and/or math skills. My answer was always active listening. REALLY LISTENING. I laugh when I think about that now because even today, I say (or think about) saying “are you listening to me”?
Much of a child’s school day is spent speaking and listening. Schools and states recognize the importance of listening and speaking and include these components in most testing. A child with good listening and speaking skills will have increased comprehension and communication skills.
Your child can develop the skill of being an active listener. Active listening means that a child uses what he hears and acts on what was said. Listening activities strengthen the entire communication process and are necessary for daily living. The activities below can be done often, anywhere and with little preparation.
3 Active Listening Activities
- Following Directions – Create simple following direction activities involving things in your home or classroom. (Stand up, sit down, touch your head, turn around, count to 10 etc.) This activity involves listening and doing. After saying a sequence of activities, the child is challenged to try to do the activities in the correct order. Younger kids and “newbies to following directions” can start with 1 and 2 step directions and proceed to more difficult or longer sequences.
- Blind Directions – Have kids sit back to back, to listen to directions from a partner to draw a picture of a simple 6-line design. When the directions are completed, the students can compare how close the new drawing was to the original.
- Puppet Talk – Some kids find it difficult to speak in front of others, Playacting provides lots of opportunities for speaking and listening in a relaxed atmosphere. Puppets are one way to help ease public speaking. It also encourages creative dialogue as the puppets (talk) to each other
By working with your child on these activities you can give him academic and social advantages in the future. All the while having a good time. Enjoy!