Eight ways to help your child with talking and listening skills


Father talking with daughter and son.

At a glance

  • Avoid interrupting your child when they are talking.
  • Give positive feedback when your child is speaking by nodding, smiling and saying supportive words.
  • If you are planning something such as a party or an outing, try having a brainstorming session with your child.
  • When walking or travelling together, talk about street names and the meaning of signs.

Communicating effectively is a skill we all need to develop.

Being able to take in information, respond to instructions and share our ideas, thoughts and opinions are vital for kids to get by in the world. Thankfully it's an area where teachers are experts, but there are ways you can help your child develop these skills and reinforce talking and listening at home.

How to help your kids with talking and listening skills

  1. Avoid interrupting your child when they're talking and listen carefully to what they have to say.
  2. Use everyday opportunities to talk with and listen to your child as they share things that are of interest or importance to them.
  3. Show your child you are interested in what they are saying when they are speaking by giving nods, smiles, sounds, supportive words and gestures. The positive feedback helps reinforce to them that what they say is important and worthwhile.
  4. If your child has trouble remembering things said to them, it's a good idea to encourage them to repeat in their mind what has been said, then retell it in their own words. Making notes can help if they have to do a task.
  5. If you are planning something such as a party or an outing, try having a brainstorming session with your child. You can do this just by listening and sharing ideas or by writing them down together.
  6. Discuss common dates on a family calendar, such as public holidays, and have your child mark in important events.
  7. From the calendar, talk about days, months and years in relation to events such as birthdays and other special occasions.
  8. When walking or travelling together, talk about street names and the meaning of signs, etc. You could discuss anything known about names and signs encountered (eg give an explanation about how street names may have come about).

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