Keys to Teach Active Listening to Children

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Keys to teach active listening to children 2

We all like to be listened to carefully when we speak. Therefore, we tell you what active listening consists of and we share some keys to teaching children.

Teaching active listening to children from an early age is important for their proper development. A child must learn to speak and express himself correctly, but he must also learn to listen. This will help them, when they are older, to function correctly in all areas of their life.

Because learning to listen is more complex than simply listening to others. Active listening implies values ​​such as respect, but other skills that are necessary to listen to the other are at stakes, such as empathy and understanding, and the ability to concentrate and pay attention.

In this article, Aark Learnings explains how you can improve your child’s listening skills at an early age.

What is active listening and what does it consist of?

It is an expression from the area of ​​human communication and refers to, as indicated by many investigations and studies, an essential communication skill for improving interpersonal relationships.

When a person is able to actively listen to another, it is because they are psychologically prepared and available to attend to the messages of the speaker. In other words, they are prepared to be respectful of what they hear and to reply with a message consistent with the content at stake in the conversation.

In addition, as we have mentioned, to execute and improve the skill of active listening, other skills must be developed, such as empathy. Empathy is to be able to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and understand both what they say and what they feel. Or develop the cognitive capacity to be able to interpret the message of the other interlocutor.

Also, to listen actively, it is necessary to be able to demonstrate understanding through some non-verbal behaviors. Such as, for example, showing a receptive body posture, maintaining eye contact, using facial expressions and gestures that denote attention and pleasure, as well as using a correct tone of voice, that is, soft and slow.

Keys to teach active listening to children

The ability to listen actively in children

By their very nature, children, when an adult is talking to them, or to each other, tend to be distracted. Little ones are not able to maintain a conversation listening with full attention in all situations. The minors, while they speak or are spoken to, play, move, and anything else catches their attention.

So to teach active listening to children, adults must first be aware that it is a skill. And, like any skill, to learn it, it must be practiced progressively and regularly.

Therefore, it is important that parents and educators know the appropriate techniques and methodologies, and have some keys to teaching children to listen actively.

Through the game

Any playful and fun activity that involves certain rules is key to teaching children to listen actively.  Respecting the rules of a game, having to wait a turn, or respecting whoever has the floor helps to develop listening skills.

Therefore, proposing and organizing games with children is an excellent strategy to encourage the development of the ability to listen to others with interest.

Thus, for example, the “broken telephone” game or the game of completing the sentence requires children to be able to pay attention to what others say.

Teach them to avoid

To teach a child to listen, you must first teach them to avoid some issues, such as interrupting. For this reason, it is always good to point out to them that, when a person speaks, they must be listened to with respect and without interrupting them. And, once the other person has finished expressing himself, then, yes, you can answer or give an opinion about what he has said.

In addition, it is also good to teach the little ones to avoid putting their hands in their pockets or crossing their arms when talking to another person and explaining that this can show disinterest in what they are being told.

Mastering the body to teach active listening to children

Another key to helping children develop active listening is teaching them to manage their own bodies. That is, teach them, for example, to smile or to look the person who is speaking to them in the eye. Or to maintain good posture during a conversation, such as keeping your back straight and your head up.

It is good to teach the little ones the importance of this type of physical disposition to maintain a conversation. That they learn to manage and predispose their body to communicative situations is part of learning active listening.

To teach active listening to children, the key is to do it by example

The key to active listening is for a child to feel that others are also listening carefully, with understanding, and with full empathy. If adults want children to learn to listen, it is a primary condition to do so by example.

To read aloud

How to talk so that children listen

One of the things that as parents you have to face is that your children do not listen to you, that is why it is so important to know how to speak so that the children listen.

For all this, if you want to know how to speak so that children listen, you speak to them at their level and that they look you in the eye. You could also very delicately grab their face by the chin just so they can see you when you speak to them and thus get their attention and listen to what you say.

The second piece of advice is to show them how and not just tell them.  For example, if you have to clean up the room, do not just tell them that you have to clean it up, but rather pick up the book that is on the floor. You pick it up and put it on the shelf, while you explain to them that the book goes on the shelf.

The third piece of advice if you want to speak so that children listen effectively is to use a few words when you give a command to the child. The fewer words you use the better since children are capable of paying attention but for short periods of time, for it is very important not to waste these short periods of time when the child attends to us, sometimes just by saying “the shoes” and the child comes to mind and realizes that he has to put on his shoes.

The fourth piece of advice is to leave the child a little note on those things that you have repeated to him a thousand times, what you recommend him to do or not to do, for example, what he should not do on the sofa.

The fifth piece of advice would be to have a little patience and wait for the child to understand what you have told him. Depending on his age, the child may take a little longer to understand what you are telling him. Sometimes it is good to mentally count to 10 to wait and see if the child has understood what you have told him.

The sixth piece of advice is to give the child the order in parts. By this, it is much easier to tell the child to put on your shoes and once the child has put on his shoes, you tell him to take his coat. This way it is much more effective to tell him everything at once, for example: Take your shoes and take your coat. Or make the mistake of saying something more generic like get ready that we have to go out since the child will not see it so clearly and will be distracted by other things.

The seventh tip is to involve the child with everything that is daily life in this way the child will feel much more valued, much more integrated, and much more important. For example, you plan to go to the supermarket, tell the child we have to go to the supermarket. To make him participate in this activity is much more effective than picking up the child and taking him to the supermarket without saying anything. By getting involved in the activity, each one can have a task, such as helping to put the food in the shopping cart.

If you want to improve your children’s active listening, create the right moment for them to listen to you. If the child is crying and upset, you should first help them to calm down and then you could hope you listen to them.

Thus, when a child speaks, the same thing that is asked of him should be done by adults. In other words, parents and teachers should put aside the mobile phone, the computer, stress, and obligations and should look the child in the eye to listen actively.

————————————————————————————————————————————–                                                          Author Bio

Name – Archana Agarwal

Bio – Archana Agarwal is a Postgraduate in International Management from the University of  Strathclyde, Scotland, an Entrepreneur, a proud mother to a 7-year-old, and Founder- CEO of Aark Learnings a leading online educational platform that provides skill-based holistic education and  online stem classes for kids which help in their growth and overall development.