Teaching Children the Power of Active Listening
By Andrew Loh
Teaching active listening to your children is quite difficult.
However, you need not be a well-trained professional to teach this
essential skill. With little bit of training, you can also teach the
secrets of active listening to your children. Several methods and
technique help parents to teach and train their children for active
listening. Here are some of them:
Time machine method: This is one of the best methods to train
your children for active listening. As soon as your children return
from their school, you may wish to sit down by their side and start
conversing about the events that happened during the day especially
in their school. School is almost like a second home to your
children. They like to spend their time in school and involve in the
activities of the classroom. They will also listen to what their
teachers say during the classes. One recommended activity that you
can follow is to ask your children what happened in the school on
the day and request them recite or repeat the sequence of events
that happened during the day.
Now, your children will recite and tell you everything regarding
what happened during the day. However, as a parent you must find out
whether your children are completely correct or not. Therefore, you
must encourage your children to recollect every event that happened
during the day. You can encourage your children to enter a "time
machine" where they can go back, experience each event, and
recollect important words spoken by the teacher. While your children
are trying to recollect things, you should participate in the
conversation by cajoling them to remember the entire sequence of
Verbal Painting: This is an unusual method where your child
will try to recite the entire sequence of events by emotionally
narrating the story. Psychologically speaking, children are ill
equipped to recall spoken words instantly. Hence, they always try to
use lot of words, imageries and scenarios to explain things. Active
listening in children could enhance when you teach them how to
listen different words and relate them to different imageries and
Reading method: Proactive listening should be the goal for
every parent. You can become the teacher for your children in the
evening. One of the best methods to teach active listening is to
read stories aloud so that your children can listen to them
together. Once you read the stories, you can ask them tell you
different aspects of the story. This simple approach will help your
children to develop the habit of listening to spoken words in rapt
Chinese Whisper: This wonderful technique is world famous for
its sheer brilliance. Class teachers can use this technique with
their children. In nature, a simple message can be diluted as it is
passed on to different people. The ability to understand and
comprehend spoken word differs among different people. This is due
to the lack of an ability to listen actively. However, this method
can immensely help children to develop the habit of active
listening. Parents may use this technique everyday to train their
children in the art of active listening.
Sundry tips to help your children develop active listening:
Choose a topic for the day and elaborate on it by telling your
children the title and brief comment about the topic. You may wish
to allow your children to think what will happen in the story.
Ask your children what they know about the topic of the day.
Read the story of the topic in an interesting and expressive manner;
let the recital be very interactive and cajoling.
Once you read the story, ask your children to recall it by narrating
the text sentence by sentence.
Repeat this action with all children and ask for individual opinions
about the story. Allow this section purely for the benefit of
children. Do not interrupt in the middle.
You can also ask a number of open-ended questions for engaging
active listening. Some examples:
Do you know anything about the topic?
Did you listen to new information in this chapter?
Is there anything new in this chapter?
What was so important in that chapter? Why do you think so?
Did you miss any information?
Why this story so important?
Which part did you like the most?
What is the summary of the story?
Active listening can influence the way in which your children shape
up in their future. With an ability to listen actively to other
people, your children can succeed in their academics in a
significant manner. Children who are poor in listening may take some
to develop this skill. However, teaching this skill to your children
at an early age will help them immensely both in classrooms and out