How To Cultivate Attentiveness In Your Child
Below are some in real-life ways to teach your child attentiveness without saying things like, “pay attention”, “look more closely”, “did you hear what I said?”, or “didn’t you see?”.
There is a difference between telling a child what to do and teaching them a skill. If you’ve used phrases like the ones above in the past you might just be telling them what to do and not teaching them how to cultivate the skill of attentiveness within themselves. Once a child can master how to cultivate this skill within themselves it sticks in their brains on a deeper level and isn’t as difficult to master.
Keep in mind that we are all human! Even though we may have mastered a skill there are times when we will still mess up! Patience is key and understanding what your child is developmentally ready for at the age they are will help you to meet them where they’re at.
Luckily, there are many different activities you can do with your child to help them develop this skill. Read on below for some fun things you can do together!
Activities To Do With Your Child
There are all sorts of different handwork skills either you or a Grandparent can work on with your child. Handwork skills are a bit different than arts and crafts, though. Here is a list of handwork skills that will appeal to everyone:
- wood toy making
- creating fishing lures
All of these skills require the child to practice on a regular basis in order to learn and become skilled at their chosen craft. In order to do that, they need to practice being attentive to each step of the process. Handwork projects are very rewarding for children since they will end up with a completed item that they can use themselves or chose to give to someone else.
As their skills develop they will be able to take on more intricate projects that also require them to build on their attentiveness skills! Participating in handwork activities are super important in the development of a child’s brain!
Even little ones can participate! Here are my top 5 handwork ideas for little ones.
Arts and Crafts
Developing handwork skills are important for the reasons I talked about above, but arts and crafts are important, too! Having free-play style arts and crafts time is essential for your child to hone their attentiveness skills! This way the child learns how to pay attention to what their own creative process is telling them to do next. Being attentive to your own inner guidance is essential for healthy development.
Projects like these are a good place to start:
- paper mache
- cut and paste
- clay moulding
Reading aloud to your child isn’t a new concept. Parents around the world read storybooks to their children all the time! In the homeschool world, we like to read longer novels to children who might not be able to read them yet.
While being read to children are actively listening to the story you’re reading. It’s a bit like watching a movie except that the child can use their own imagination to fabricate all of the details in the world of the story.
Reading aloud will teach your child to pay attention to the words that are coming out of your mouth while you read and follow along with the story. It will also teach them how to be quiet while another person is speaking because if they are loud they will miss part of the story or other people will miss part of the story.
Children will also learn memory recall skills during read-aloud time. We often take a few days or weeks to get through one novel, so they have to remember where we left off last time in order for the story to make sense. Before beginning to read the next part of the story I will ask my kids to tell me a bit about where we left off in the story. They love to recall the details of our last reading session!
Here is a great list of 15 books that you could read aloud to your children today!
Being In Nature
Being in nature is an excellent way for children to learn attentiveness! Taking walks, gardening, insect finding, and bird watching are all great ways for children to practice being attentive. There are so many sounds and sights in nature that require a keen eye or ear to see or hear.
Go out with your child with a pair of binoculars, a magnifying glass, and a notebook with some pencil crayons. Have them sit for a while and observe the sights and sounds of their surroundings. Then ask them to draw a picture of the things they saw or heard.
Sitting still and being aware of one’s surroundings is an excellent way to learn to be attentive!
Exchanging Eye Contact
Exchanging eye contact is a two-way street. Giving your child eye contact with every interaction and asking for their eye contact when they are speaking to you is a valuable skill. Making eye contact with the person whose speaking to you shows them that you are being attentive to what they are saying. In turn, making eye contact with the person you are speaking to shows them that you really value their attentiveness and hold that attention until you are finished speaking. Otherwise known as active listening.
This skill is something that even small children can practice!
Interaction With Animals
Animals are great teachers! Housepets and farm animals require us to care for them in order to survive. This means that we have to anticipate their needs; things like eating, sleeping, going outside, social interaction, and their need for love and attention. We also have to pay attention to their behavior in order to sense when something may be bothering them or if they are sick or in pain or if they don’t like how we’re touching them. If we aren’t attentive to our animal’s needs then they will suffer.
Having a pet is a great experience for a child! The skills they will develop are invaluable for their long-term wellbeing.
Practice With Your Kids!