Ministry of Education, Guyana

The Importance of Developing Listening and Attention Skills in Children

Listening and attention skills are vital in a child's development because they allow the child to function properly in society. When developing these skills, it is important that your child become an active listener, which means that he use what he hears from you and others as part of the communication process. By setting a good example and working with your child to develop these skills, you can give him academic and social advantages in the future.

.Improves Language and Communication
Children retain information through their interactions with others and this includes language skills. The more your child listens to what others have to say, the better her vocabulary and communication become. By helping her to develop her listening and attention skills, you make it easier for her to communicate with others once she goes to school. Overall, listening and learning go hand in hand.

Develops Literacy and Comprehension
As the child develops, he will begin using his listening skills to improve his vocabulary, grammar and reading ability. If he lacks listening skills or does not pay attention, he might struggle to pick up on mistakes he is making with his speech, since he will not hear what others have to say. Reading skills can also suffer if the child does not have adequate listening skills, since he might not pay attention to the words when someone else is reading to him.

Aids Social Development
When the child begins school, listening skills and attention span increase in importance. At this age, she will begin interacting with other children regularly and will have to retain information based on these interactions. The child's self-concept and social life are dependent on her interactions with her peers, states Davis-Kalugin. At this point, parents will become aware if the child's speech is underdeveloped, as she could have problems making friends or communicating with teachers.

Signs of Listening Problems
If your child is struggling with his listening or attention skills, a few signals could arise. He could have issues with following directions, having conversations with others or learning new words. He could also struggle with basic preschool concepts, like counting or learning different colors. Many children outgrow these problems over time, as they begin listening better once they realize that they do not know these things. In other children, however, intervention from a language specialist might become necessary.


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