Good listening underpins all language development and helps children to interact successfully with others.
Make sure children have some time each day when they can hear you talking with no background noise to compete with your voice
Manage screen time so they get a good balance of time interacting with people too
- Encourage them to look towards you when you are talking to them. Call their name and wait for them to look
- Model the behaviour you want to see. Make sure you look at them when they are talking and you wait for them to finish before you talk
- Praise them when they show good listening and tell them what you are happy about so they know what they need to do more of! e.g. "You stayed so quiet while I told you what I wanted - you are going to know EXACTLY what to do!"
- Pay attention when your child talks to you.
- Get your child's attention before you talk.
- Praise your child when they tell you something. Show that you understand their words.
- Pause after speaking. This gives your child a chance to respond.
- Keep helping your child learn new words. Say a new word, and tell them what it means, or use it in a way that helps him understand. For example, you can use the word "vehicle" instead of "car." You can say, "I think I will drive the vehicle to the store. I am too tired to walk."
- Talk about where things are, using words like "first," "middle," and "last" or "right" and "left." Talk about opposites like "up" and "down" or "on" and "off."
- Have your child guess what you describe. Say, "We use it to sweep the floor," and have them find the broom. Say, "It is cold, sweet, and good for dessert. I like strawberry" so they can guess "ice cream."
- Work on groups of items, or categories. Find the thing that does not belong in a group. For example, "A shoe does not go with an apple and an orange because you can't eat it. It is not round. It is not a fruit."
- Help your child follow two- and three-step directions. Use words like, "Go to your room, and bring me your book."
- Ask your child to give directions. Follow their directions as they tell you how to build a tower of blocks.
- Play games with your child such as "house." Let them be the parent, and you pretend to be the child. Talk about the different rooms and furniture in the house.
- Watch movies together on TV or a tablet. Talk about what your child is watching. Have them guess what might happen next. Talk about the characters. Are they happy or sad? Ask them to tell you what happened in the story. Act out a scene together, or make up a different ending.
- Use everyday tasks to learn language. For example, talk about the foods on the menu and their color, texture, and taste when in the kitchen. Talk about where to put things. Ask them to put the napkin on the table, in your lap, or under the spoon. Talk about who the napkin belongs to. Say, "It is my napkin." "It is Daddy's." "It is Tamara's."
- Go grocery shopping together. Talk about what you will buy, how many things you need, and what you will make. Talk about sizes, shapes, and weight.