Question: My daughter is 5 years old. She is having a listening comprehension problem in school. She is a good student. I don’t know how to improve this.

Myrna Shure: By listening comprehension, I assume you mean she doesn’t listen to directions, whether it relates to an academic subject or transition times during the day.

You can try giving your child a puppet and make up a simple direction for the family, such as, “Everybody tap your knee,” or, “Everybody clap your hands.” Then ask her how she would feel if someone in the family was not listening. Then next time she doesn’t listen, remind her of the time she gave a direction with the puppet.  

You can also play the above game alone with your child. Ask her to give you a direction and pretend like you weren’t listening.  Now ask her how she feels when you don’t listen.  Repeat the game, only this time show her you are listening. Ask her how she feels now.

Then ask your child to make up a story, and while she’s talking, pretend you’re not listening. You can say, “Oh, I wasn’t listening. Can you tell me that again?” Then ask her how she feels when you’re not listening. When she tells you again, this time let her know you listened by repeating what she said. Now ask her how she feels when you are listening.

Now you can ask her how she thinks her teacher feels when she’s not listening. Follow that with, “What can you do so the teacher will not feel that way?”

Activities like these will help your child want to listen.  She will feel actively involved in the process of learning how.