Parenting Vivian | 06 Feb 2011 03:26 pm

How to Teach Your Children Effective Listening Skills

Are children really becoming less attentive these days? Are children’s listening skills declining possibly as a side effect of the 21st century? More importantly, do your children whom you have the power to change suffer from poor listening?

Many studies conclude children are suffering from a lowered attention span due to activities such as television and computer games. Peter Jensen at the National Institute of Mental Health concludes: “Extensive exposure to television and video games may promote development of brain systems that scan and shift attention at the expense of those that focus attention.”

If you have children, you would often feel like you are talking to a brick wall. Children at times shrug you off as they ignore what you have to say. Parents in response to this problem think the solution to poor listening skills comes down to discipline. They may yell at the child or spank them for not paying attention. However, the problem is beyond discipline. Some children cannot keep their attention fixed on one thing for long periods of time. They have no chance to effectively listen when they cannot even focus.

This is a strange activity to do, but watch someone watching television. Look at how warped the person appears. It seems as if the person is lifeless. Doing this activity will make you see the strange world we put ourselves into by watching the idiot box.

When you think about it, does your child talk much when watching television or playing computer games? Unless they provide commentary and annoy everyone else around them (that was aimed at my youngest brother), you probably answered “not much at all”. They will sit in front of a gaming console, computer, or television and become mind-slaves to the device as they “switch off” their mind into the rapid, hypnotic pace these devices deliver. Of course, we do listen while watching yet the devices deliver sound at a greater speed that is considerably more entertaining to children than the sound of nagging parents talking to them.

Instead of thinking a child’s poor listening skills is a cause of poor discipline, look at this issue of focus. The first thing you need to do to teach your child better listening skills deals with what activities they participate in during the day. This first aim should be to develop your child’s patience so they at least have the chance to pay attention to the person who is speaking to them. Once you have developed their ability to focus, then you are ready to enhance their listening skills.

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