In For Parents, Tips & Tricks

Whether you’re enjoying the sunny spring showers in the Northern Hemisphere, or watching the leaves change color during autumn in the Southern Hemisphere, the changing of season is a great time to extend your child’s listening skills. Go outside with your child, enjoy the changing of weather, and use these listening activities to help build their skills!

 

Choosing Clothing For Heading Outside

Listening skills can be included in everyday activities, like getting dressed. Tell your child that you will be going out for the day together for a walk, and that you need to choose suitable clothing to wear. Talking about different clothes for different weather can be a great way to introduce your child to new words and ideas whilst also building their listening skills.

Example Listening Activities For Children

  • Talk through your decisions with your child, for example why you wear a jacket with your shirt, and wear shoes and socks instead of sandals. “We need to wear a jacket and warm shoes outside now. It’s getting cold, and we need to keep warm and dry.”
  • Give your child instructions to get the different clothes that they need. For example, “We need to get you some shorts to wear. Could you go and get your white shorts with the red stripe from your drawers?” See if your child can understand your request. If they are having difficulty, you can help them by breaking down the instructions into shorter phrases: “Let’s go to your room and open your drawers,” and “Can you find the white shorts with the red stripe?” Each time, wait for your child to listen to you and follow your instructions through listening alone.
  • If your child still has difficulty understanding what you are requesting them to do, turn it into a teaching moment. Show your child where the drawers are, and repeat your instructions to reinforce what you’re saying: “Here are your drawers. We keep all of your clothes inside your bedroom drawers. Let’s open the bottom drawer and find your shorts. Here are all your shorts. Where are your white shorts with the red stripe? Here they are. These are your white shorts, and look, here’s the red stripe on them.”

Be careful to not point or gesture too much in these listening activities. Although this can help your child understand your message, they can also start relying on visuals which can have an impact on building their listening skills.

 

Taking a Walk Outside

Example Listening Activities For Children

When you are both dressed and go outside, talk about all the different changes to the environment that you can see. The more things you talk about, the more exposure you are giving your child to new language that’s directly relevant to what they are experiencing. This helps to extend their knowledge of the world around them.

  • If it’s springtime, you might reflect on how the air is getting warmer, the trees are growing leaves, and the flowers are blooming. Talk about the different aspects of the trees and flowers that you see with lots of different descriptive words: “See the bright yellow daffodils, they have long green stems, and have dark yellow petals on the inside,” or “Look at all the red tulips! They are bright red!”
  • If it is autumn, you might reflect on how the air is getting cooler, the leaves are changing colors, or the leaves are falling on the ground. Point out the differences in the leaves that you see, and use descriptive language to highlight these for your child: “This leaf is a big, yellow leaf. And that leaf is a small, round brown leaf. Leaves change color from green to yellow, orange, red, and brown. Then, they fall to the ground when the weather gets colder!”
  • Listen to the wind in the trees, or the rustle of the leaves. Tell your child about all the sounds, describing what they are: “Listen to how the leaves crunch as we step on them!”

Enjoy the changing season and all the listening activities for children that you can do during this time!

 

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Ingrid Steyns
Ingrid Steyns is a certified Speech-Language Pathologist, Listening and Spoken Language Specialist and qualified Rehabilitation Counsellor. Ingrid currently works as a Rehabilitation Manager at MED-EL headquarters in Innsbruck, Austria, providing hearing implant rehabilitation training support globally.
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