Susanne Marie Poulette, M.S., CCC-SLP
It’s been a few days since Halloween, how’s all that candy working for us? Are the sugar highs waning? I hear from parents and teachers that it might be a good time for more strategies to help our kids listen and focus.
For any age student, it’s helpful to review the reasons WHY listening is PERSONALLY important to each of us. We all want to know, “What am I going to get out of this? Why do I need to listen?”
You might like to try these ideas:
Have a chat about why it’s important to listen mindfully – in school, in the community, and with family and friends. Some examples that you might find helpful:
We listen to be SUCCESSFUL IN SCHOOL
To learn, to understand, and to follow directions.
To get instructions so we know what we’re supposed to do.
To listen and understand teachers’ instructions and lessons.
To gain meaning and understanding from new information and stories read aloud.
We listen to be a GOOD FAMILY MEMBER AND FRIEND
To listen and be polite even if we really don’t care or if we’re bored.
To respect others by listening to them the same way we want to be listened to.
To show that we care about the speaker.
To make friends, and learn and remember their names.
To understand and participate in games, sports, and other social activities.
We listen to be aware of the world around us, for OUR SAFETY AND WELL-BEING
To get important news and know what’s going on around us.
To follow directions to avoid dangerous situations or activities, such as:
school bus safety, playground safety, fire drills, sports safety rules, water safety/lifeguard rules, warnings about risks or dangers by parents, teachers, coaches, crossing guards, etc.
What are good listening skills? “Discuss among yourselves.”
Brainstorm some examples of good vs. poor listening, and make lists of each. Younger children can draw pictures of good listening scenes.
Look for pictures in magazines that depict good and poor listening; make collages of each.
For young children:
Who looks like they are listening and paying attention?
Who looks like they are NOT listening and paying attention?
Encourage reflection on the effort involved in listening: Is it easy, just okay, or difficult?
What makes it easy or difficult? When, where?
What are some solutions to make listening easier for you?
Ask “Listening is a skill, so how do you get better at a skill?
“Skills improve with practice, like catching a ball, tying shoe laces, playing a musical instrument…”
Encourage them to make this connection and understand that we CAN improve our listening skills.
© 2016 S M Poulette