I've often wondered: are they listening? paying attention? zoned out? daydreaming?
When I'm reading them a story and they just don't seem to be paying attention, then I stop at the end of the chapter and they say "don't stop there read some more". I guess they are listening more than it appeared.
At church they sit there quietly or write in their notebook. Do they hear anything Pastor Tommy is saying? Then Kaomi puts her hand up in the air, when he says something about do you want to obey. She does, though you wouldn't know it by her actions lately. Or Katy says to me on the way home: Pastor Tommy said the verse I learned. She was referring to Psalm 4:8. Or Kent asks a question about something that he heard.
They hear something. Be careful what you say around little ears they may just be listening, even though they don't appear to be.