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Leaning to listen and follow instructions is a tricky skill. As a parent of young children, it’s important to have age-appropriate expectations for your child and to give them lots of opportunities to practice so you can be sure they are ready to take on the world.  

“My child isn’t ready for KinderGym, they don’t listen to the coach."

We hear this quite a lot from new parents after their first few classes. We understand it can be frustrating, but just by being in a structured class you’re giving them the opportunity to develop listening skills. The good news – these skills will transfer to other areas of their life like the home, kinder and eventually school. You’re doing a great thing by giving them the opportunity to learn. 

You are not wasting your time being in a class before they have learnt to listen. Like all the skills your child has already began to master, listening and understanding directions takes time to learn. As you know from your own life, being able to listen well doesn’t mean you always will! 

Most toddlers and pre-schoolers will listen and follow instructions some of the time, and that’s ok. Kids learn through experimentation; it’s how they discover the world. Sometimes these experiments line up with what we want from them, and sometimes they are off in their own little world and won’t be coming back to earth for a while.  

To give you some perspective, the following is considered ‘good listening’. Don't forget that not everyday is going to be a good day. 

  • 18-month-old follows instructions 50% of the time 
  • 2-year-old follows instructions 60% of the time 
  • 3-year-old follows instructions 70% of the time 

 Listening is just like any other skill we learn in gymnastics; it takes time and regular practice to master.  

This article has some great phrases you can use to help your child develop their listening skills, and a handy checklist to help you remember. 

How Skylark KinderGym classes help kids learn to listen. 

Our KinderGym classes are run from fully equipped gymnastics centres in Lynbrook and Mount Waverley. Classes are grouped by age, relevant to the developmental stages of children under 5.  

  • 2-3 years 
  • 3-4 years 
  • 4-5 years 

Our KinderGym coaches modify their language and expectations to suit the children in each class. A 2-year-old may listen to 1 instruction at a time, and a 4-year-old can sometimes follow 3 at a time and carry out the direction with minimal reminders. We keep the class structure and flow similar each lesson to help children remember by repetition and familiar situations.  

Children all learn in their own way, so we allow kids to hear, see and feel each instruction or activity. For example, the instruction is to sit on the spot with hands on head, the coach will say the instruction, do the action and assist kids to place their hands on their head to feel it. Even if your child spends the first 6 weeks exploring the gym for most of the lesson, that’s ok. Encourage them to come back to the group at regular intervals. Each week you’ll notice an increase in their participation and enjoyment, and you’ll start to notice the benefits as well.

Learn more about what happens in weekly KinderGym classes at our Mount Waverley and Lynbrook locations here Book a free trial if you live in a surrounding suburb and want to give your little one a great start.

Written by

Jasmin Meaker

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