The Benefits of Transitional Kindergarten

Adding a year of schooling, and helping your child learn to listen.

(page 2 of 2)


Put On Your Listening Ears

Why would a smart 8-year-old boy have trouble listening to his teacher’s instructions? His hearing is just fine.  

Many children have never learned to listen. Listening and hearing are two different things. Hearing is a passive activity. For example, children hear thunder, the car engine, or bees buzzing. Listening involves active participation of the brain. What a child hears must register in his or her brain. Listening is an extremely important skill, one closely related to academic success in school.

First, be sure that you listen when your child is talking. Set a good example by making eye contact with your child and responding to what he or she says.
Parents can improve their children’s listening skills through activities that are fun. Try some of these with your child to help him become a better listener:

 1.     Read to your child and pause to ask questions about what was said.

 2.     Make a deliberate error when reading and see if your child catches it. For example, call the cat in the hat a dog in the hat.

 3.     Play games like Simon Says, 20 Questions, and Junior Trivial Pursuit.

 4.     Share family activities at the dinner table.

5.     Talk to your child about activities that interest him or her.

 6.     Clap your hands in different patterns, have your child repeat the pattern.

7. Start a story at the supper table. Each family member ends a sentence with “then.” The next person completes the sentence and ends it with “then” until everyone at the table has added something to the story.

If your child struggles with these activities, consider getting him tested.


Other questions or comments? Send them to or ask them on the columnists’ website at


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