Photo by Nicholas Githiri

Stop. Look. Listen.

Let’s look at some ways to help your child feel good about talking with others. Talking and listening is a big part of getting along. Join playgroups or arrange some play dates in your neighborhood with other children the same age. Play some easy, co-operative games where children take turns. Encourage conversation. Children can develop some good friendships while they learn to listen to others.

Get the child’s attention. Make eye contact. Stop, Look and Listen.

Follow the child’s interest and their lead. Imitate and interpret. Comment and question.

Here are some good games to play to help your child concentrate

The Letter O
Photo by Dan Taylor

Look for letters in objects.

Play I Spy With My Little Eye and use a sound if your child is not ready for letters.

Play the telephone game. Remember this one? One person whispers something in the next person’s ear and so on around the circle. At the end, the last person says what they heard – it’s often different than when it started.

Picture stories are fun

Read to your child as often as you can. It can be stories, poems, nursery rhymes or if you think you don’t read well, ask questions about the pictures in any book or magazine. For example, ask “what do you think that person is doing?” or “what do you think happened to make them look so happy?” This is the same sort of game as the one for describing feelings only this time, we are making a whole story.

Sing songs

Sing the same songs you learned when you were a child. This is a great way for an auditory learner to enhance conversation skills and for a kinesthetic or visual learner, it’s a fun way to develop another learning style.

Quiet time

Bedtime is a great opportunity to spend some quiet, one-on-one time with your child. Before your child goes to sleep, ask them:

  • What made you really happy today?
  • Is there anything that happened today that you would like to tell me about?
  • What was the funniest thing you saw today?

Note: If you think that your child’s speech or hearing could be a problem or if your child doesn’t seem able to concentrate on what you are doing together, talk to your family doctor or call a community health center and ask about getting some help. It doesn’t mean anything is wrong. Children develop skills in their own time, but there are lots of ways to help.