Listening Exercises for Kids That Actually Work

I hear this complaint every day in my practice. “My kids don’t listen to me!” “All I do is yell all day because no one does what I say!” Do you feel like your kids are parent-deaf? Don’t worry, you are not alone. Wouldn’t it be great if you could come up with some creative listening exercises for kids that would improve listening and bring peace to your home?

Listening exercises for kids can make listening fun and make you more effective as a parent. With a few creative ways to get your kids to listen, you will find yourself yelling less and laughing more. Now wouldn’t that be great?

Tired of your kids not listening? Use these creative listening exercises for kids.

Here are 4 listening exercises for kids that will bring you some sanity:


Red light, green light to stop impulsivity

Young kids tune out “Stop!” “Don’t” and “Watch out!” This can be a scary thing when they are running into the street or are about to touch something hot.

You can train your young kids to listen to you by periodically playing a silly game of red light, green light. When you are relaxing around the house or when you are out and about, randomly yell “red light!” Have everyone freeze until you say “green light.”

You can add incentives to the game by giving small prizes or tokens to the kids that stop right away. This will eventually shape your child’s behavior to always respond when they hear “red light.”

If you play this game more often for fun rather than for necessity, your children will continue to respond to it. This can come in handy when your child is running into the street or acting impulsively.


Put a bubble in your mouth to discourage interrupting

When I volunteered in my daughter’s first-grade class I was awestruck by her teacher’s ability to get thirty kids to listen to her. She had some amazing techniques that I quickly stole for home! One of my favorites is how she instructed the kids to “put a bubble” in their mouths. There she stood in front of thirty chatty kids in a silent room as little mouths puffed out their cheeks.

If you have little kids who love to interrupt and talk over each other – this tip is for you! Tell your kids to put a bubble in their mouth until it is their turn to speak. This helps kids with a concrete reminder to wait their turn.


Close your eyes, open your ears to help with distraction 

Some kids have a hard time listening because they are too distracting. If your child can’t focus on what you are saying, they aren’t going to do it. Simple as that. To help a distracted child focus, tell your kids to close your eyes. You can prompt them by saying something like, “Close your eyes and open your ears I have something I want you to hear.” This will help your child tune out all other distractions and focus on what you are trying to tell them.


When I say this, you say that to get your attention

This is another skill I totally stole from my daughter’s first-grade teacher. Teachers have the best listening activities for the classroom! She had a particular saying she would say to the class. Honestly, I can’t even remember what she said. But what I do remember is that when she said those magical words, all thirty kids replied with two claps. It was a beautiful thing to watch!

How often are we shouting out directions to our kids without confirming we have their full attention. I know I am guilty as charged. These listening games for children that are used in the classroom setting can be easily adapted for home use.

Recently I started clapping twice when I wanted my children’s attention. I told them that when they hear me clap twice, they should walk over to me and clap twice back. Super strange, I know, but it is effective. Now, when I want them to listen, I can be reassured I have their full attention.


Listening Exercises for Kids is Fun!

We don’t always have to be doom and gloom to get our kids to listen. Sometimes thinking out of the box and making it silly can be just as effective. How do you get your kids to listen? Share your ideas in the comments below.


Do you know someone who could benefit from learning some listening exercises for kids? Share this article with them.


Other Articles/Books on Getting Kids to Listen:

How to Get Kids to Listen

Child Therapist’s One Simple Tip: How to Parent So Your Children Will Listen

How to Get Your Children to Listen