The Importance of Developing Listening and Attention Skills in Children

Listening and attention skills are vital in building a child’s cognitive, behavioral and affective aspects. It is essential they develop this ability to interact and communicate with the world efficiently. By building the foundation and being competent in the auditory and thought awareness facets, children are prepared and equipped to face intellectual, social and emotional endeavors. There are numerous advantages when these two skills are developed and honed.


Children commonly learn through listening and paying attention to what they see and hear around them. As they gain more knowledge and experience, they develop their own ideas, interests and preferences. They filter important facts and opinions through active listening. Moreover, they concentrate on the main points of discussion and events to know the consequences. Understanding such things enables children to guide their self-inquiry and discover their individual possibilities.


In her book “Maternal & Child Health Nursing: Care of the Childbearing & Childrearing Family,” Adele Pillitteri explains that listening attentively is an effective way to deepen communication and foster relationships 2. As children start to interact, socialize and mingle with their peers, they need to be ready to listen and give their attention. Children who feel appreciated and valued are more likely to confide their feelings to their acquaintances. Cultivating the skill in active listening can in this way facilitate day-to-day affairs and the formation of lasting friendships.


Albert Bandura, one of the pioneers of observational learning, notes that learning can take place by observing or hearing about other people’s actions. For example, if a child sees his brother get high marks and is rewarded, the child would then strive for a better grade to get an incentive. This is how children draw from the behavior modeled by various people, be it family members, friends or television characters; in turn, they develop a unique pattern of behavioral responses and expectancies. Hence, they need to improve their capacity to listen carefully and focus on the task at hand.


Students who are focused on listening and understanding subject matter grasp the content more clearly and easily. Children who are active listeners can incorporate the things they hear faster in their framework of knowledge than a more passive counterpart. These children may also exhibit better concentration and memory. Alert and observant children thus have a higher chance of good grades and outstanding comprehension of lessons.