An often overlooked aspect of school success is effective listening skills. Often children can hear what is said, but don’t listen to what is said. As a consequence, much of what occurs in the class passes them by.
The game of ‘Simon Says’ is a terrific way to help your child improve his/her listening skills. It provides an endless opportunity for fun, while at the same time, it can be made more and more challenging.
“Simon Says: if Monday comes after Tuesday, clap three times. Simon Says: if the second tallest person in your house is not female, stand up. Simon Says: if two times six is more than ten plus one, touch your nose … If you are smarter than your teacher, put up four fingers.”
Once children are caught out a few times, they quickly learn to focus their attention upon the details.
Of course, reading stories can also provide opportunities for listening skills to be refined. Rather than having your child read along with you, have him/her listen to you read and encourage the asking of questions. It’s a bit of a twist to the usual situation where you are in control, and children tend to enjoy this.
Additionally, by not always giving the right answer, children have to not only focus on the passage, but on your response, and be able to justify why you were wrong and they were right. They tend to enjoy this too!