Each month we are having a social focus in class that we will work on and support the children with. Below are some ideas/tips to try at home to help your child with listening and following directions.
Read to your child as much as you can: Reading aloud to your child is a great way to improve listening skills. Use silly voices, or emphasize certain words or phrases to get their attention. Try to get fresh reading material as often as you can. If your child hasn't heard the story before, they will have to listen to find out what happens!
Get down to your child’s level: Bellowing from a great height or even another room, rarely has the desired effect. Squat down or pick up your child so that you can look them in the eye and grab their
Share mealtimes: It can be hard to find time for your whole family to sit down and talk to each other. Mealtimes are a perfect time to do this. It may not be possible to do every night, but try to set times that everyone sits down together and talks.
Be clear: State your message clearly, simply and authoritatively. Your child will zone out if you go on about something for too long. Try not to say, “It's cold outside and you've been ill, so I want you to put on your jumper before we go to the shops.” Instead try, “It's time to put on your jumper.” She will understand what you're saying more easily and be more inclined to listen.
Follow through fast: Make it clear that you mean what you say and don't make threats or promises you won't keep. If you tell your child, “You can have water with your dinner,” don't waver five minutes later and give them juice. Make sure your partner shares your rules and that you both stick to them; this will help your child feel more secure.
Reinforce your message: It helps to back up what you say with other cues, especially if you're trying to pull your child away from an absorbing activity. Say, “Time for bed!” and then give a visual cue (flicking the light switch on and off), a physical cue (laying your hand on their shoulder), or a demonstration (steering them towards bed).
Give warnings: Give your child advance notice when a big change is about to happen, especially if they are happily involved with toys or a friend.
Give realistic instructions: If you tell your child to put their toys away, they may look around the room and think, “No way!” Instead, give them specific and manageable tasks, such as “Let's put the yellow blocks away.” Once they accomplished the first task, you can make it into a game by saying, “Good. Now let's put the blue blocks away.”
Set a good example: Your child will be a better listener if they see that you are a good listener, too. Try to listen to your child as respectfully as you would to any adult. Look at your child when they talk to you, respond politely and let them finish without interrupting.