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How to teach listening skills to your child

How many times have you found yourself talking to your child and noticing that they are not paying the slightest attention? Sometimes children are so absorbed in their own activities that they don’t pay attention to what’s happening around them. In other cases, there might be a lack of habit of listening to mom and dad.

It’s not always easy to understand whether that behavior is acceptable or not; indeed, many times parents feel frustrated if their child doesn’t pay attention while they are talking to them or if they seem distracted and disinterested.

Teaching listening skills is essential for a child, which can be developed and improved over time.

Today, I want to explore with you the reasons why it’s highly beneficial to try to educate children in listening; furthermore, I want to provide some simple strategies and practical exercises to help parents capture the attention of their children through dialogue, effectively developing their listening abilities.

1. Why it's important to teach listening skills to children

Teaching listening skills is an extremely important aspect to foster the growth and development of the child. The reason lies in the fact that it allows your child to develop their communication skills, as well as their attention and concentration.

These aspects form the foundation of social competencies necessary for them to pursue their personal fulfillment. If you have had the opportunity to read my book Fearless Parenting Method this aspect will certainly be very clear to you.

Having said that, encouraging the child to develop the habit of paying attention and actively listening can significantly enhance their ability to relate positively with others. Additionally, it helps build a strong and positive relationship between parents and children, promoting mutual understanding and collaboration.

Therefore, it is crucial that you know how to guide your educational approach in a way that educates your child in listening during the small moments of daily interaction between you two. Now, let’s see how to do it.

2. Strategies to improve listening in children

In order to improve the child’s listening, there are many effective strategies that a parent can implement on a daily basis.

Among these, the first one I feel like suggesting is to pay attention to the type of language and tone of voice you commonly use. Avoiding raising your voice and speaking too quickly, as well as using a calm and composed tone, are helpful aspects to allow the child to focus better on the conversation and therefore listen more attentively.

Furthermore, it is essential to give the child time and space to respond to our questions calmly and without haste; if we constantly interrupt or correct them, it is challenging for them to get used to paying attention to our words, as they may appear redundant.

Instead, by giving them time to express themselves, the child will be encouraged to actively participate in the conversation and will feel valued for the contribution they can make to the discussion.

Another useful strategy is to ask the child open-ended questions, rather than just making statements that they have to comment on or giving orders without room for exceptions. By asking open-ended questions, you will encourage them to think and respond more critically, making them feel empowered in their way of communicating.

For example, instead of asking directly how their day at school went, it’s better to ask what they enjoyed in the morning at school.

Last but not least, the most effective strategy in your parenting role is to provide good examples through your behaviors, showing the child how to actively listen to others during conversations.

3. How to capture children's attention during dialogue

In addition to educating the child to listen, it is also very useful to know how to capture their attention during daily dialogues; there are several strategies to do so, here are some:

  • Choosing the right moment: knowing when is the most suitable time to talk to your child is as important as what you have to say to them; and this also represents a fundamental strategy to get their attention. If I need to tell them something important or delicate, it’s better for me to avoid interrupting a game that absorbs them so much; or talking to them when they are tired or hungry.
  • Controlling the tone of voice: as I mentioned before, a calm tone of voice helps to maintain children’s attention on what is being said, creating a relaxed atmosphere suitable for promoting dialogue.
  • Valuing non-verbal communication: gestures, postures, gazes, and body expressions have a strong impact on the other during dialogue; when used well, they can help capture the child’s attention and make the dialogue more dynamic and interesting. On the contrary, inadequate non-verbal communication can even convey an opposite idea to the message being communicated in words.
  • Creating a suitable context for dialogue: the context in which the dialogue takes place is not at all secondary, especially when dealing with delicate topics. Where, how, and when you discuss have a strong impact on the child’s willingness to listen to the adult.
    For example, sitting next to the child and looking them in the eyes helps capture their attention and encourages open and sincere communication. However, if discussing delicate aspects and there is a perception of intimidating the child, it may be much more useful to sit beside them.

4. Practical exercises to develop listening skills

Lastly, I want to suggest three simple exercises to further develop your child’s listening skills. These are games to educate them about listening, small practices that can help them concentrate better and pay greater attention. Let’s see them:


  • Attention games: These are activities that require the child to pay close attention to the given instructions, or to guess hidden objects or mysterious sounds. These activities can be done at any age, so I won’t go into the details of individual initiatives, but if you need suggestions, feel free to write them in the comments.
  • Narration: Telling stories to the child, reading books aloud, or recounting exciting experiences already carried out, are activities that encourage the child to pay attention. Moreover, they elicit the desire to intervene and ask questions. When this happens, it provides clear feedback on how attentive they were during the narration.
  • Musical activities: Listening to music or dancing together with the child are activities that help develop concentration and listening skills.

These activities not only help develop the child’s listening abilities but also strengthen the bond between parent and child. If you want to learn more about how to educate a child, I suggest you explore my brief guide; it will provide you with many insights to strengthen your educational role.


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