Boy Listening With A Can

Improving attention and listening

Attention and listening skills are important. Good attention and listening will help your child to join in with activities, interact with other people and become a good communicator. As your child’s attention and listening skills develop, it will be easier for them to understand and to learn sounds, words and sentences for themselves.

A child with weak attention and listening skills may:

  • Have poor concentration or a very short attention span
  • Be restless, fidget, move around a lot
  • Be easily distracted by noises or things around them
  • Have difficulty with understanding and following directions

Top tips to improve attention and listening

  • Reduce distractions, e.g., turn off the TV and other devices. Make it as easy as you can for your child to listen to you.
  • Be face to face. Get down to your child’s level whenever possible.
  • Say your child’s name to gain their attention before giving an instruction.
  • Keep instructions short and repeat if necessary.
  • Make some time for special time together. Play together and talk with your child. Let your child lead the play, this will help keep their attention focused for longer.

Activities to develop attention and listening

Hide a noisy toy
Encourage your child to find a noisy toy you have hidden by listening for it.

Play musical statues
Play some music and pause it at intervals. Encourage your child to listen carefully. Your child should dance when the music plays then stand still like a statue when it pauses.

Play the shopping game
Collect empty cartons and use these to set up a pretend shop. Sit on the other side of the room, give your child a basket/bag and ask them to get you something from the shop. Ask for more than one thing if your child can manage it. If your child tends to forget what you have asked for by the time they walk across to the shop, make them the shopkeeper, so that they can easily see the items as you ask for them.

Play run and touch
This is a good game for the garden or if you are out for a walk. Ask your child to run and touch things, e.g., “Run and touch the swing”. If your child can do this easily, give longer instructions, e.g., “Run and touch the slide and then the gate”.

Play Simon says
Give your child instructions like, “Simon says… touch your toes”. If that is too easy, make the instructions longer, e.g., “Simon says… spin two times then clap your hands”.

Tidy up time
Turn tidy up time into a game. Ask your child to put away a toy/item as you name it.

Play “go” games
Encourage your child to wait until you say “go” before carrying out an agreed action, e.g., putting a brick on a tower, knocking a brick tower over, pushing a car down a ramp, rolling a ball into skittles, blowing bubbles, having a race.

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