20 Oct

Mastering the Art of Communication: Tips and Tricks to Improve Children's Listening Skills!

Young children can have difficulty listening to others for a variety of reasons. On one hand, their brains are still developing and they may struggle with impulse control. On the other hand, they are at a stage in their development where they are beginning to assert their individuality and may resist following the instructions of others. To help children improve their listening skills, parents and caregivers can use specific phrases and strategies to encourage them to pay attention and follow directions.

The following are the Tips and Tricks to Improve Children's Listening Skills:

  • We Will leave in 10 minutes:

"We will leave in 10 minutes" is a phrase that can be used to effectively communicate to a child when it's time to leave and transition to the next activity. This phrase gives the child a clear and specific timeframe, allowing them to plan and finish whatever they are currently engaged in. This way, the child doesn't feel rushed or interrupted suddenly without any warning. 

Using phrases like "Hurry Up! We have to leave now" can create a negative reaction from the child, as they may feel frustrated or resentful for being abruptly pulled away from something they were enjoying. Giving them a 10-minute warning allows the child to finish what they are doing and prepare for the next activity. It also sets a clear expectation for when it's time to leave and shows that you respect the child's current activity. It is a good idea to stick to the time given and make sure to leave on time.

  • Do you want to color with "red" or "blue" crayon?

Offering a choice is a powerful way to engage children, as it allows them to feel like they have control over their actions and decisions. However, it is important to ensure that the choices offered are both controlled and feasible. When asking a child what they would like to do, it's best to offer two clear options that are achievable in the current setting. For example, instead of asking "So, what do you want to do?", you can offer a choice between two activities that are possible, such as "Do you want to play with the blocks or read a book?" 

It's also important to be mindful of the number of options offered. When asking something like "Which color pencil do you want?", offering too many options can be overwhelming for a child and may lead to them feeling disconcerted. Offering a choice between two options that are feasible, like "Do you want to color with the red pencil or the blue?" is more manageable for the child. This way, it makes it easier for them to make a decision, and it's less likely to lead to confusion or frustration.

  • I see you are finding it tough to...., do you want help?

The above phrase can be used to support children as they face challenges and difficulties. This phrase is particularly useful when a child is determined to succeed but is struggling to do so. In these situations, it's important to strike a balance between helping the child and allowing them to learn from their own experiences. 

If you step in and take over without the child's permission, it can be discouraging for them, and can lead to frustration and tantrums. On the other hand, if you let the child struggle on their own for too long, it can result in wasted time and can lead to feelings of discouragement. 

By asking if they need help, you are giving the child the opportunity to decide if they want assistance, and you are also providing them with a sense of autonomy over their own learning. It allows the child to take ownership of the situation, and it gives them the chance to get the help they need to succeed. It also sends a message that you trust and respect their ability to solve problems. This phrase can be a great way to empower children as they work through challenges and learn how to be resilient.

  • Can you use the magic word "Please"?

This phrase can be used to encourage children to use verbal communication to express their feelings and needs. This phrase is more effective than simply telling a child to "Stop Whining" as it helps the child to understand that there is a better way to express themselves. 

It's important to note that for a child to be able to express themselves in words, they must have the necessary vocabulary to do so. It's important to be patient and understand that young children may not have the language skills to express themselves in the same way as adults. Therefore, it's important to help the child to build their vocabulary and to understand the meaning of different words. 

By encouraging children to use words to express themselves, you are helping them to develop their communication skills, and you are also helping them to understand that their feelings and needs are important. This phrase can be a great way to teach children how to communicate effectively and how to express themselves in a healthy and appropriate way.

  • Let's use gentle hands

"Let's use gentle hands" is a phrase that can be used to remind children to be gentle and mindful of the physical boundaries of others when playing. This phrase can be more effective than simply telling a child to "stop" their rough play, as it encourages them to think about the impact of their actions on others and to make a conscious effort to be gentler. 

This phrase can be especially useful when a child is getting a little too exuberant while playing with other children. Instead of shouting "Stop that now" or "Stop pulling him/her around," this phrase encourages the child to think about how their actions are affecting others and to adjust their behavior accordingly. 

However, if the rough play continues despite the reminder, it may be necessary to take more drastic action, such as redirection or physically removing the child from the play area. This will help to ensure that the child understands that their behavior is not acceptable and that they need to be mindful of the safety and well-being of others when playing.

  • I am going to wait for you to calm down

"I am going to wait for you to calm down" is a phrase that can be used to help children manage their emotions and regain control during a temper tantrum. It can be tempting to respond to a child's yelling with louder yelling, but this can only serve to heighten the child's anxiety and escalate the situation. 

Instead, taking a step back and waiting for the child to calm down can be a more effective approach. This phrase communicates to the child that you understand that they are upset and that you are willing to wait until they are ready to listen. It also sends a message that you are not going to engage in a yelling match with them. 

As an educator, it's important to stay close to the child during this time, in case they need physical comfort or guidance on techniques such as slow breathing to help them calm down. Sometimes, a child just needs a little time and space to reflect and listen. 

It is also worth noting that, getting children to listen and pay attention can be a difficult task for educators. It may be easier for some but for others (especially for casual educators) it can be a big challenge. It's important to remember to be patient and use different strategies to get their attention.


In conclusion, using specific phrases and strategies when dealing with children who aren't listening can be an effective way to improve their listening skills. Phrases such as "We will leave in 10 minutes!", "I see you are finding it tough to..., do you want help?", "Can you use words, please?", "Let's use gentle hands" and "I am going to wait for you to calm down" can help children to understand expectations, empower them to make their own decisions, encourage verbal communication, and manage their emotions. It is important to keep in mind that every child is different and what works for one may not work for another, it's important to be patient and try different approaches to find what works best for each child. As educators, it is essential to remember that getting children to listen and pay attention can be a difficult task, but with patience and the right strategies, it can be achieved.

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