Is your child or student hearing you but not 'listening'?
Read about the differences between the two, and learn strategies to support listening skills.
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Can you hear me? Are you listening?

There is a difference between the two.

Hearing is simply the ear detecting a sound.
Listening, however, involves concentrating so that your brain can understand and gain meaning from the words and sentences it can hear.

The good news is: listening is a skill that can be developed and strengthened.
We hope that you'll gain an idea or two from this month's newsletter. If your child is having difficulties with their listening skills, please do not hesitate to contact us

Encouraging children's listening skills

  • Limit distractions. It's hard for children to hear and understand your message when playing with toys, an iPad, or when watching their shows on TV.
  • Prime children to listen. If you don't want to repeat yourself, let them know that you're about to say something important. Ask if their 'listening ears are on' and if they're ready to listen.
  • Support their understanding by asking them to do one thing at a time.
  • Ask your child to repeat what you have said. This will show you if they have received your message. It may also help your child to remember what they need to do, by keeping the message 'fresh'.
  • Try gentle touch. Sometimes words alone are not enough. A child's listening skills may be enhanced with a gentle touch of their shoulder or on their arm when you are speaking with them. Hard or forceful touch can be seen as intimidating and have the opposite effect.
  • Reward good listening. A reinforcement for following instructions promptly and without complaining can be motivating and help listening skills improve.
  • Be a role model. Show your child the listening behaviours you want to see.

We need to listen too

Being a parent is the toughest job of all. There are always people and jobs competing for our attention - making it difficult to listen 100% of the time. But when a child is not feeling listened to, they are more likely to whinge, shout or throw a tantrum to get our attention.

Active listening involves listening to the whole message your child is trying to share - using words, their body language, and their inflection (rise and fall of their voice). It helps children to feel valued and understood.

So what 
does 'active listening' look like?
  • Get down to your child's level: look them in the eyes, look relaxed, look interested
  • Acknowledge what your child is saying with a non-committal, simple “mmm”, “I see,” “oh,” “right”.
  • Avoid interrupting to finish sentences or to jump to conclusions.  Listen all the way through until your child is done
  • Check to make sure that you are understanding what is being said. Some sentences to use include: 'It sounds like...' and 'What do you mean...?

Some activity ideas

  • Make reading an interactive activity. When reading a book to your child, stop before turning the page and say, "What do you think will happen next?" or "How will the story end?" Asking your child to explain their answer will show how well they've listened to what you've read so far.
  • Play "story chain." One person says a sentence and then another person adds the next sentence, and so on. If your child is too young to keep the story going, ask them for specific details: "What colour was the car?
  • Cook together. Find a recipe, read the directions out loud, and let your child do the measuring, mixing, stirring, and pouring.
  • Play listening games like Simon Says, I spy...,  or make up your own!
  • Try a listening treasure hunt. Give your child an item to find and gradually make the verbal list of items longer and longer. Reward them with a prize at the end.
Copyright © 2016 Not All Talk Speech Pathology, All rights reserved.

Not All Talk Speech Pathology
Mobile: 0408 620 826 | Clinic: (02) 9771 9061
Webpage: | Facebook: /NotAllTalkSpeechPathology
Twitter: @NotAllTalk_SP | Instagram: @notalltalksp

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Not All Talk Speech Pathology · 6 Nambucca Place · Padstow Heights, Nsw 2211 · Australia

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