Children barely listen. In fact, they selectively listen. This means, they listen to only what matters to them. Making your child listen to your advice is one the greatest challenges a parent has to go through. The biggest mistake that parents make, while trying their best to make the child listen, is repeat the same instruction over and over again. The child gets immune to the instruction and totally disobeys it. Developing good listening skills is an essential part of child development, and a parent needs to understand a child's psychology while trying to teach these skills. Before we begin with how to improve listening skills for children, understand, that, listening is an art and not just a regular activity.
Good listening skills can only be developed if a child learns to make a conversation, instead of just talking. Your child will only make a conversation, when he/she responds with logic, thoughtful structure of sentences, and evidences to support the stand. Responding to your questions or to your statements, is the first sign, of the fact that your child is listening to you. Make conversations about your child's day at school, what should you have for dinner, about friends, and all the casual things in your child's life that's making an impact in the smallest possible ways. If you try to talk about bigger things, like grades, your child may get defensive. Hence, begin with small events.
Try this effective listening skill by reading comprehensions with your child on regular basis. Read interactively with your child every night. After reading about two pages, ask your child a few questions about what you've been reading. The number of questions that your child answers correctly, will show you how attentive your child was. Comprehension will also arouses curiosity in your child about the story or the subject being read. This way, your child will also develop an ability to assimilate and think on different subjects.
You have to be a child to instill effective listening skills in your child. Indulge in extra curricular activities with your child like playing football, basketball, craft projects, school projects, homework, cooking, cleaning, and so on. Constantly instructing your child about the same old things, will make your child lose interest in you. Doing a variety of things together will expose you differently to your child and vice versa, and help in building up a worthy skill set. This will provide you with an opportunity to build trust and respect for each other, which go a long way in making your child listen to you. After all, don't we listen to people whom we trust the most? So, here's a chance you can't miss out on.
Such skills take time to shape up. Hence, do this once you have to be sure of the fact, that your child will listen to you. This is a great way of teaching your child non-verbal form of communication. Leave a few instructions or simply leave quotes and sayings that will help in instilling values in children. For instance, a post it stuck on a place that will be noticed easily, will be read and registered. Write down simple quotes like 'honesty is the best policy' or instructions like, 'water the plants', 'feed the dog', or 'put the dirty clothes in a laundry bag', while you are away. If your child listens, which means, if the instructions are obeyed by the time you return, then you have been successful in imbibing listening skills in your child.
Have a Party
A party or a social gathering is the time to test active listening and whether your child has progressed or not. Active listening means, listening to the other person's entire body language too. It means understanding the other person's tone of voice, eye movements, and body movements. This is another nonverbal form of communicating with your child. To test or to teach your child active listening skills, a social gathering is the best time. If your child asks you a question, say, 'Mom, may I have a glass of cold drink?', answer with a nod. The child must understand the nod to be negative or positive. You can also try some other techniques like, slightly raising your voice to indicate a 'no', patting your child to say the task was well done and so on. If your child understands your instructions through body language, then there's nothing to worry about anymore!
Children are in a huge process of growing up, of discovering new things, and experimenting. This is what scares the parents. However, don't forget that you were the same as a child. Your child needs to know the reason behind every 'no' and every 'yes'. You can only get your child to listen to you, if you reason out your every instruction.