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Active Listening: What It Is, Why It's Important, And How Pinna Can Help Foster This Key Life Skill

Truth bomb — we aren’t raising kids, we’re raising adults.

For that reason, it’s crucial that we equip them with the life skills they’ll need once they grow up and move out of our homes.

How to wash a load of laundry, cook a tasty meal, and budget their income…those are the type of things we often think about once we have this realization.

Effective communication is something that might not be on our radar. But it’s every bit as vital, if not moreso.

When you break effective communication down, it’s actually an entire skill set that needs to be covered, made up of several parts. One major component: active listening.

That’s the topic of our conversation today. What is active listening? Why is it important? And how can Pinna help foster this important skill?

Let’s discuss.

What is Active Listening?

Active listening is also known as “whole body listening”. It involves making eye contact, nodding your head in understanding, facing your body toward the speaker, asking clarifying questions, and reflecting back what you hear.

Your body and brain need to be engaged in the conversation and not focused on your response to what the other person is saying — or what you’re having for dinner later. It takes intentional effort to be a good listener.

Technology has made it easier than ever to communicate with one another no matter the distance. But less face-to-face interacting has made us all a bit rusty when it comes to having an in-person conversation with friends and family. Active listening is an important skill that kids (and grownups!) need to practice in order to get right.

Why is Active Listening an Important Skill?

Active listening is an important skill because it helps a person become an effective communicator. This is necessary for every stage of life — from childhood to adulthood.

During childhood, active listening helps kids both in school and in their social lives. Active listening is key to becoming a better learner AND in forming lasting friendships.

Once a child grows up, active listening is necessary to succeed in college, in the workforce, in developing friendships and relationships, and eventually, in marriage.

Active listening is a lifelong skill that kids need to learn early and practice often.

How Can a Pinna Promote Active Listening?

Pinna — an audio streaming service for kids — is the perfect tool to promote active listening skills both at home and at school.

Many of the shows on Pinna are interactive in nature and require a child to be fully engaged while listening.

If you’d like some real-life examples of how to practice active listening with kids while listening to Pinna, keep reading.

Fun Activities To Practice Active Listening With Pinna

  • Try turning on a game show and playing along with your kids. Don’t Break The Rules, 5 For 5 Trivia, and ExtraBLURT (try out the junior version too!) are a few of our top picks.
  • Another fun activity is to listen to a mystery series — A To Z Mysteries: Clue Club, Opal Watson: Private Eye, and Mackaroy Uncovered are a few exciting choices! — and try to solve the case before the detectives do.
  • You can also pick a story series and ask kids to color a picture of what’s happening as you listen. Book of Dragons and Grimm, Grimmer, Grimmest both have incredibly talented narrators that will draw you right into their imaginary world.
  • Reading aloud is another way to promote active listening. It’s easy for kids to zone out and not grasp what’s happening in the story. Try giving kids a quiet activity to keep their hands busy as they listen. Then, stop to summarize at the end of each chapter. Audiobooks on Pinna are a neat way to change up your reading time in class or at home. Try Little Miss President or The Battle of Darcy Lane for an engaging listening experience.
  • Listen to Time For Kids Explains each week for kid-friendly news. Check out the teacher companion and free printables in the educator resource section on the Pinna website for activities to help kids really absorb what’s going on in the world around them.
  • Play Hey Story Go and have kids move along to keep the story going. This is a fun way to practice listening and following directions.
  • Peace Out is a calm, relaxing podcast with mediations that kids can follow along to at bedtime or any point where they need a few minutes of quiet.
  • Podcasts with short, engaging episodes like Word of the Day and Joke of the Day, both by HiLL-LaRRy-uS, are easy ways for kids to practice their listening skills — they only last a minute or two apiece.
  • Check out Eat Your Spanish for “bite-size” foreign language lessons. Kids can practice the phrases they’re learning in class or at home.
  • Play audiobooks or podcast episodes when kids are in the car, eating meals, or doing chores. If their bodies are busy, it’s easier for their brains to engage in what they’re hearing.

The Takeaway

Active listening is a key part of learning to communicate effectively. Kids and adults both need plenty of opportunities to practice this vital skill.

Above, you’ll find many ways to help kids practice active listening with Pinna.

We’re all ears!

What is your favorite way to encourage active listening at home or in the classroom? We’d love to hear from you! Find us on all our social platforms – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest – or email us at contact@pinna.fm.

Amy Thetford

Amy Thetford

Amy is a freelance writer and homeschooling mom to her tribe of tiny humans. She's fueled by coffee and the desire to do ALL. THE. THINGS. She blogs about all things motherhood at realtalkwithamy.com