Active Listening Strategies for Kids

Instructor: Jennifer Lowery

Jennifer has taught elementary levels K-3 and has master's degrees in elementary education and curriculum/instruction and educational leadership.

Do you actively listen when someone is talking? In this lesson, learn what active listening means, why it is important to actively listen, and identify strategies you can use to be an active listener.

Are You Listening?

Have you ever thought you were listening to someone, but then really couldn't remember what the person said? This can happen to anyone, but it might be a real problem if that person were telling you something very important. Plus, how do you think the person would feel knowing you didn't really focus on what he or she was telling you?

Listening is a very important skill, and you probably listen more during the day than you realize. In school, you listen to the directions that your teacher gives you. When you're playing a sport, you listen to your coach giving you suggestions on the sidelines. You probably also listen to your friends when you're hanging out on the weekends. Let's find out how you can be a good listener in all of those situations.

These students are carefully listening to their teacher.
students

What Is Active Listening?

You might think that listening means just sitting there, but actually there are ways you can do something called active listening. What does this mean? Active listening is when you as the listener are doing things on purpose to listen and remember what someone is saying. There are several strategies you can use to actively listen to a speaker.

Get Your Mind Ready

Is it easy to pay attention to something when your mind is full of all kinds of thoughts and ideas? Definitely not! One of the first steps in becoming an active listener is to clear your mind of distractions. These are thoughts that get in the way of being fully focused on a conversation. So even though you might be thinking about the hours of homework you have to do or the movie you're excited to see on the weekend, put those thoughts aside when you are actively listening to a person who is speaking to you.

Clear your mind of distractions when listening to someone.
distracted

Don't Interrupt

Do you get annoyed when someone starts talking even when you are in the middle of a sentence? You probably answered yes to that question. An active listener avoids interruptions, or talking over someone before that person can finish his or her thought. By not interrupting, you can hear everything someone has to say. This also shows the speaker that you believe the conversation is important.

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