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How Can I Help My Child Follow Directions?

Updated: Aug 12, 2022

Do you ever find yourself asking your child to do something very simple only to find yourself repeating it 5 times and finally just doing it yourself out of frustration?

Just us? (crickets......)

Yeah...probably not.

Check out these "Do Your Part" Ideas to help your child with following directions!

Laura Mize, a pediatric speech-language pathologist from 'Teach Me to Talk', says that the best way to make sure a child understands how to follow directions is to ask her to "do her part" during everyday activities like eating meals, riding in the car, getting dressed, leaving the house, bath time, etc. By doing this, we can embed receptive language strategies (how your child receives language) into our everyday family routines and it becomes a natural and easy path to success for your child. Here are some great ideas for toddlers and preschoolers:

  • After a diaper change, ask your child to throw away the diaper.

  • When a cup is empty, ask y0ur child to put it in the sink.

  • Before leaving the house, ask your child to go get her shoes, coat, or backpack.

  • When it's time to get out of the bathtub, ask your child to throw toys in the bag or on the floor to dry.

  • Ask your child to turn lights on/off when entering or leaving a room.

  • Ask your child to wash off the table or tray after a meal.

  • Ask your child to open or close the door when you are entering or leaving a room.

  • Say "Go get the ____" for favorite objects your child needs for a preferred activity as a way to begin the routine. For example, if your child loves to curl up with you on the couch with his special blanket, ask, "Wanna snuggle? Go get your blanket!"

We must not underestimate the power of these very early requests. Focus on one or two jobs until the child masters those jobs and then move on to more and continue adding jobs as you go.

Life is busy. We have very little time to add more to our "activity plate" but these simple routines can be added into the things we do every single day. It's the little things that are done with consistency that we see pay off in big ways down the road.

Keep going, moms and dads! We see you.....and we applaud you.

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