At a recent business seminar, the topic for discussion was listening skills. To me, this is an early learning skill that is developed before the elementary school years begin. However, it became obvious that corporate America is experiencing a plethora of employees unable to grasp concepts due to lack of listening skills! Most every suggestion made at this seminar is one used for early childhood development. Much of this can be accomplished at home in the early years of your child’s development. How? By planning activities which will require attention. Don’t fret; these are much simpler than you are imagining. First, try normal tasks, such as making up your bed. Set your child in front of you as you work and “talk through” the task. Most toddlers want adults to be talking to them. They are fascinated by what adults do, so talk them through some of your activities. Second, plan an activity each day which allows your child an opportunity to participate in attention practice. Reading a book (at his level) is great, but try injecting attention activities like asking the child to point to the chicken when you get to that page. Or ask him to be looking for a certain word, picture, or page number, and to let you know when the two of you have arrived at that point. This same activity can be used when watching a video or television program or while Dad fixes the car. Even the youngest toddler can have scavenger hunts. Go for walks with attention activities in mind. If your child is old enough, make a small list of items for him to spot while on the walk. He might make a check beside each item when it is found; he might just have a set phrase (“I found it”) to say. Children love to help their parents, especially if they are made to feel that they are needed. Attention activities can be used here also. When you unload the dishwasher, ask the child to identify what he is handing you and even indicate to you where is it usually stored in the kitchen. Match lids to pots; like items by type, color, or size as you unload. This same idea can be used in almost every household activity, encouraging your child to pay attention to the activity as well as the details. And don’t forget, when it is time to put his things away, the child can do so by groupings of color, size, etc.