5 Ways to Encourage Your Child to Follow Directions

Teaching kids how to listen and follow directions can be a big task sometimes. Kids can get frustrated or overwhelmed, or they could simply ignore the directions. 

But there are some ways that you can help your child learn how to follow directions better. Here are a few tips from childcare experts you could try in your home today!

5 Ways to Encourage Your Child to Follow Directions

Stay Calm

Starting out with a calm, patient but firm mentality can really help on your part when teaching your kids how to follow directions. Just remember that teaching this can take time, and your patience will help when you inevitably have to repeat your directions.

Be Direct

Make sure your command is clear and direct. This leaves no question in the child’s mind as to what they are being told to do. For example, say, “Sit in the chair, please” and “Please pick up your toys.”  

State Commands Positively

Rather than stating the things not to do, start out a command with the action you want them to do.

While telling kids “No” is oftentimes required, try giving them positive “Do” commands the first time. This ties into being direct. “Can you please use your inside voice,” or “Get down from there, please,” can help keep the commands positive while giving your kids easy-to-follow directions.

Give One Command At a Time

Kids can get overwhelmed easily when given a list of many things to do all at once. Make sure you are giving just one direction at a time. This will make it much easier for your kids to listen to and follow the directions.

Give Age-Appropriate Instructions

Part of helping kids learn to follow instructions well is to make sure the directions or tasks you are giving them are easy to follow and age-appropriate.

For instance, a 1 or 2-year-old can help clean their room with assistance, but to expect them to clean it all by themselves is not developmentally accurate and can leave you frustrated and the child feeling insecure and bad. 

Make sure that your child is mentally and developmentally ready to follow the directions you are giving before you give them; and if you realize they aren’t, you can help them grow by helping them and teaching them through the task.

The way you approach giving instructions to your children can help them grow in a healthy way or can cause them to either be chaotic and out-of-control or strive for perfection and feel bad about themselves when they don’t meet a standard they aren’t developmentally ready for.

Make sure you put some thought into these interactions and use the steps above for help if you aren’t sure where to start.