Many parents raise concern about their pre-school age child’s ability to listen and understand what is being spoken to them. They may observe that their child is easily distracted, asks for words and sentences to be repeated, needs instructions to be delivered step-by-step or fails to correctly answer questions posed to them.
It’s good to know you’re not alone, and that there are many practical ways to help your child learn to listen and boost their understanding of the words we use in everyday conversation with them.
Consider these five strategies:
Get your child’s hearing checked by an audiologist
Talk about what you/they are doing, as you/they are doing it. This is like being a commentator of your own or your child’s actions. Make sure your sentences are at a level you’re confident your child understands. E.g., “It’s time for a bath. Let’s get clean. We need some water. Turn on the tap. Watch the water filling up the bath. Put the bubble bath in. Look at all the bubbles!”
Involve your child in daily routines and give them directions. if they don’t follow the direction correctly, repeat it and stress the important information. E.g., As you do the laundry, ask, “Pass me the red socks”. If your child hands you a different coloured pair, repeat and stress, “Whoops, I said pass me the red socks. These are the red socks”.
Sort items into groups. Think of objects that are part of your daily routines. For instance, sorting clothes according to colour or size, groceries according to whether they are stored in the fridge, freezer or pantry. You could also cut out pictures of fruit, people, clothing, transport and animals from magazines and glue them into groups in a scrapbook.
Talk about what things are used for, how you use them, and where you find them. You can do this in all the rooms of the house. E.g., When making pancakes in the kitchen, you might say, “We need a wooden spoon. Where is it? It’s in the second draw. We use it for stirring. Show me how you stir”.
Have you found a listening strategy particularly useful? If you have, please share. If poor listening is a concern of yours and you’d like some further advice, get in touch with us today.