- Use Keywords - If you find you’re having to repeat instructions, try using just one or two words to direct your child. Instead of saying “Please take your plate to the sink when you’re done,” try saying “Plate to the sink” in an encouraging tone when your child has almost finished eating. You may find that a one-word reminder will get your child’s attention quicker than repeating directions over and over.
- Helping Hands - Ask your child for help in the kitchen or while doing other light chores. Giving your child simple directions about making a sandwich or sorting laundry will help foster confidence and knowledge, as well as encourage him or her to follow directions. It’s advisable to give your child no more than three steps to complete a task.
- Treasure Hunt - Ask you child to retrieve specific items from around the house such as a yellow sponge or two blue shoes. The child will have to concentrate on the task for at least a minute, encouraging him or her to focus. For an added challenge, create a small obstacle course that your child must complete before bringing the item to you. This might include running three circles around the tree, hopping over the garden hose, then somersaulting. If you have more than one child, this treasure hunt can be turned into a fun race!
Helping your child learn to follow directions will help ensure a rewarding classroom experience. Following directions directly correlates with fostering independence. Once a child has mastered a set of directions, they can be trusted to complete the task on their own. This builds self-reliance and self-confidence, both of which are important as children grow and develop. Visit Fairmont’s Early Childhood Education Pinterest board for more great ideas and tips!
Contributed by Rebecca Stokes, Fairmont Private Schools
Image Contributed by Everyday Life