Learning how to talk is brilliant. But knowing how to listen is even more important – especially when you need to learn something. Don’t worry, there are lots of ways you can help your little one be a better listener.
Things your child should be able to do before they start school
- Take turns when having a conversation – not do all the talking
- Follow simple instructions like “get your hat and coat”
- Sit and listen quietly to a story for at least five minutes
Helpful tips and activities
Things you can do to help your child improve their listening skills.
- When giving instructions like “get your coat”, wait five seconds before you ask again – let them work out what they need to do
- Give them time to think about what you are asking them to do – give them a clue
- Use hand signals or mime to help them remember what you want them to do or say
- Let them choose their own story book – ask them what they think it is about
- Visit the library – and read different books to them
- Take part in a playgroup – there are lots of chances to listen to other children and adults
- Allow children to speak – it’ll really boost their confidence
- Encourage children to wait and not interrupt
- Give children tasks to do – they love feeling useful
- Play ‘my turn, your turn’ games – it’s a great way to practice listening without it feeling like a lesson
Signs to look out for
Things that let you know your child is developing the skills they need.
- Shows interest in other people talking and wants to join in
- Listens to stories and nursery rhymes and joins in
- Remembers a story they have heard before
- Chooses a book they like to read with you
- Shows they enjoy helping you
- Does at least one thing at a time when asked
- Shows they can follow simple instructions
Need more help or advice?
Talk to your Health Visitor, they’ll always be happy to answer your questions. Or if they can’t help, they’ll certainly be able to put you in touch with someone who can.