Tips to Improve Your Child’s Active Listening Skills
Listening means paying full attention to words or sounds you hear. Listening implies that you fully understand and correctly interpret what the other person is saying when someone is talking to you. This is an essential skill to develop if we are to function effectively and successfully in society.
Listening is also a crucial part of learning. The better or more intently we listen, the more accurately we understand, which helps with our knowledge. Like with any skill, we are not born with good listening skills, so this must be developed with patience and practice. Start your child’s early education in preschool admission with EuroKids.
There are Two Types of Listening Skills, Passive Listening, and Active Listening
Passive Listening is simply hearing a sound or hearing what the speaker is saying without actually attempting to follow or understand what is being said. In this type of Listening, the listener doesn’t retain what is being said or heard. Birds chirping on the trees as you go about your daily work or music playing in the background of a restaurant while you enjoy your meal are examples of passive Listening. You are aware of its presence but need to pay attention to it.
In Active Listening, you pay complete attention to the speaker and attempt to follow and understand what the speaker is trying to convey. The listener actively participates and acknowledges the speaker’s words with verbal and non-verbal cues. Participating in the conversation, and asking and answering questions, are examples of verbal cues. While smiling, nodding, and your body posture consist of non-verbal cues. With active Listening, the listener can also repeat in their own words what the speaker said. Examples of active Listening are listening to your friends, your mom as she instructs you, or your coach during football practice.
Importance and Benefits of Active Listening
Active Listening is essential as it helps with better comprehension and understanding. Better understanding leads to faster learning. Children who actively listen in class can answer questions and be better communicators and problem solvers. Active listeners tend to be ahead of the course, are looked upon as having a good character and being great friends, and are seen as leaders.
The Benefits of Being An Active Listener Are:
There are Fewer Misunderstandings
Since active listeners engage in conversations with the speaker, they are also more likely to clarify all doubts leading to fewer misunderstandings.
Faster Work Output
Before beginning any form of work, active listeners ensure they have understood the task properly/ accurately and know what is expected of them. Hence they can work faster.
Active listeners tend to be good communicators as well. Since they are clear about what is expected, they communicate effectively and can tap into their resources for a better output.
As active listeners ensure that they have correctly understood the speaker, they need not rely on anyone else for information or clarifications. They become self-reliant.
When a person’s active listening skills are good, and they know precisely the task at hand and what they need to do, thereby reducing the chances of making mistakes and resulting in improved productivity.
If you’d like more ideas on listening skill activities to enhance your child’s active listening skills, Click here to read our article on ‘8 best listening activities for kids.’ Now that we know what Listening is, the difference between passive and active Listening, as well as the importance and benefits of active Listening.
Let us look into how we can improve our and our children’s functional listening skills with these few tips-
Maintain Good Eye Contact
Maintaining eye contact with the speaker helps improve concentration and adequately understand what the speaker is saying. Moreover, those who can sustain good eye contact are seen as reliable, honest, confident, warm, and social people.
Refrain from interrupting a speaker while talking as they might lose focus and forget what they are trying to say. Instead, make a note and keep your questions, doubts, and comments till the speaker finishes speaking. A person with good active listening skills will pay attention till the end instead of assuming or guessing what the speaker is trying to convey.
Asking relevant questions about what is being said is an excellent way to let the speaker know you are paying attention. Asking questions allows you to clarify doubts and ensure better understanding. Different types of questions can be requested. These are-
- Open-ended questions- questions like these encourage further discussions. For example -” How was the birthday party?”
- Close-ended questions require a specific answer, for example- “would you like to go for Atharva’s birthday?”
- Leading questions elicit the response from the respondent in a particular way- for example – “Are you good friends with Atharva?”
- Reflective questions require the respondent to think and expand further on a particular thought. For example- “you said that you enjoyed this game at the birthday party; can you tell me why?”
Repeat What the Speaker Says
Repeating what the speaker has said in your own words is an excellent way to check the accuracy of your active listening skills. If you can repeat what the speaker says, you fully understand the communication. If given the opportunity, summarize the essential points of the conversation so that the speaker can correct you if required.
Listen and Understand the Conversation in Totality
Any discussion comprises two parts- the message itself and the feeling or emotions behind it. Both pieces are equally important if you want a complete understanding of what is being said. In some cases where the actual words may be very plain and straightforward, the real message would be in the emotions or feelings involved.
These tips are easy enough for everyone to follow, even children. Please make use of them often to better your active listening skills and of your child as well. With regular help and practice, it will become second nature to you.
To develop and enhance active listening skills in children, beginning as early as possible is better, as this will only aid in their language, communication, and learning skills. Listening activities and games like reading a storybook and asking questions about the story to gauge how much your child has heard and understood the story, or giving your child multiple instructions to see how well they listen and follow them, play ‘treasure hunt’ in which they have to find and bring a specific object to you, are good ways to begin training your child’s listening skills. You can also include some music-based activities since children love music. Games like musical chairs or statues require the child to listen attentively to when the music is playing and when it stops. They thoroughly enjoy these games.
At Euro kids, we are fully dedicated to improving a child’s listening skills as we recognize their importance in learning and later life. Click here to find a center near you and visit it to see how these activities are conducted and their effects on the children over time.
Visit EuroKids for a more engaging blog.