Teaching kids to follow directions is ANYTHING but easy. I wish it was as simple as playing a listening activity, seeing some glitter float down, and watching my kids magically turn into angels who always listen. Instead, I find myself bargaining, begging, pleading… anything I can do to get them out of the door on time for school. It can be absolutely exhausting trying to get your kiddos to follow simple directions. But it doesn’t have to be impossible! Here are 5 tips to help your kids follow directions.
If you try to communicate directions or requests to your children while they’re distracted, you might as well be speaking a different language. The best way to make sure you have your children’s full attention is by maintaining eye contact and making sure you’re at eye level with them. Make sure that there are no distractions around, either! Walk away from toys, games, or TVs. Making sure you have their full attention is the best way to help your kids follow directions.
Be short and Specific
It’s no surprise that our kiddos have a very short attention span. No matter how closely they’re paying attention to us, there’s always a possible distraction right around the corner. Make sure when you do have their full attention, you are absolutely clear in what you’re asking of them. Instead of explaining why you need them to get something done, trim out the extra. Short, simple, and sweet is the best way to go!
Don’t Ask, Unless It’s a Choice
If you don’t want to have a discussion, make sure to keep that door locked! Offering choices is usually a great way to help your child feel involved in the decision and avoid a power struggle. However, our kiddos have to learn not everything in life is a choice. Instead of asking them to do something, kindly give instructions and tell them what they need to do. There are situations where you can offer a choice, but if it’s not possible, make sure it doesn’t sound like a question.
Make Sure to Pause
This is something used by teachers everywhere. After giving out some directions, pause for about 8-10 seconds to allow your kiddo to process the information. Kids are much more likely to listen if you give them a few seconds to think about it. As adults, we can listen and apply information in an instant! But try giving your kiddos a little extra time.
It may seem like there’s nothing in the world that will help your kids follow directions. And on those mornings where nothing seems to be going your way is when it can get really difficult. It may be difficult to get our kiddos to listen to us without negotiation, but it’s not impossible. Instead of getting angry, spilling your coffee and giving up on teaching your kids how to follow directions, try these tips for better communication. What are some of your tips to help your kids follow directions? Leave your comments below!