Easy Tips for Encouraging Your Child to Follow Directions

First published: 30 March 2023 @ 6:00 pm

As a parent, you probably want to help your child follow directions and achieve their goals. Unfortunately, children are very fickle creatures. They are very creative and imaginative, which is a wonderful trait.

But at the same time, they can also be very hard to convince of something if they have strong emotions against it. So how do you go about making your child follow directions?

In this article, we would like to give you some tips to make your kids obey it.

Easy Tips for Encouraging Your Child to Follow Directions
Photo by Daria Obymaha on Pexels

Simple Tips to Make Children Follow Directions with Ease

Following directions is an essential life skill that children need to learn and practice. Using smart steps to make children follow directions will prevent them from doing any negative behavior.

So, here are some tips to help kids follow directions:

1. Get Their Attention

Make sure your child is focused and listening before giving instructions. Call their name or make eye contact to ensure they are paying attention.

Getting a child’s attention is basically one of the best ways to make them follow directions because it helps them focus on what you are saying and understand the task at hand.

When a child is distracted or not paying attention, they may miss important information or misunderstand the instructions.

This can lead to frustration for both the child and the parent and can result in the child not following through with the task.

By getting a child’s positive attention before giving directions, you are ensuring that they are ready to receive the information and are more likely to understand what is expected of them.

Making eye contact, using their name, or getting down to their level are all effective ways to get a child’s attention.

2. Keep It Simple

Give instructions that are clear and concise. Avoid using complex sentences or multiple instructions at once.

Children’s cognitive and language abilities are still developing, and they may not be able to process complex directions or understand abstract concepts. Besides, children often have shorter attention spans than adults, and long or complicated directions can be difficult for them to remember.

When directions are complicated or unclear, children may become confused or unsure of what they are supposed to do.

This can lead to frustration and a lack of motivation to follow through with the directions. When children can understand and easily follow directions, they are more likely to comply with them.

Moreover, this can lead to a more positive and productive environment for both children and adults.

3. Use Visual Aids

Visual aids are an effective tool in helping children follow directions because they provide a visual representation of what needs to be done.

Many children are visual learners, meaning that they understand and process information better when they see it rather than just hearing it.

Visual aids can include pictures, diagrams, charts, or any other visual representation that can help a child understand what is being asked of them. 

Aside from that, visual aids can also be used to provide positive reinforcement. For example, a chart with stickers or stars can be used to track a child’s progress in following directions.

This can provide a sense of accomplishment and motivation to continue to follow directions in the future.

4. Repeat and Reinforce

Repeating and reinforcing directions are crucial when it comes to helping children follow directions.

This is because children may not always understand or remember the directions the first time around.

By repeating the directions, children are given a second opportunity to process the information and ensure that they understand what is expected of them.

Reinforcing the directions also helps to solidify the information in their minds and encourages them to follow through with the requested action.

5. Make It Fun

Making following directions a fun experience can help build a positive relationship between adults and children.

When children enjoy following directions and see it as a positive experience, they are more likely to trust and respect the adults giving them instructions.

This can lead to better communication, stronger relationships, and a more positive learning environment overall.

6. Show Them Some Steps

Showing example steps for making children follow directions can be incredibly helpful in reinforcing the strategies that parents or caregivers are trying to implement.

When children are shown how to follow directions, they can see exactly what is expected of them and how they can achieve the desired outcome. 

Giving examples can also provide children with a clear understanding of what the consequences of not following directions may be.

For instance, a parent can explain that if a child doesn’t put away their toys when asked, they won’t be able to play with them later or will have to clean them up before they can play again.

7. Praise Their Behaviour

Praising children while making them follow directions is an effective way to encourage positive behavior and build their confidence.

Children thrive on positive reinforcement, and when they are praised for following directions, it reinforces the idea that their actions are valued and appreciated.

Giving children verbal praise or descriptive praise not only helps to increase their motivation to follow directions but also strengthens their self-esteem and encourages them to take more initiative in the future.

This step is also suitable to prevent bad behavior from children. Praising them will make children will encourage them to continue to follow directions in the future. 

8. Take Time to Listen

Taking the time to listen to children when giving them directions is important for several reasons. First, it shows children that their thoughts and opinions matter, which can help to build their confidence and self-esteem.

When children feel that they are being heard and taken seriously, they are more likely to be receptive to the directions that we give to them.

Second, we can better understand their needs and perspectives while taking time to time. This can help us to tailor our directions in a way that is more effective and appropriate for each individual child.

For example, if we know that a child is feeling anxious or overwhelmed, we can offer extra support or reassurance to help them follow through with the directions.

9. Talk About the Expectations

Talking about our expectations is an important part of helping children follow directions. When we are clear about what we want from them, children are more likely to understand and comply with our requests.

It’s important to communicate our expectations in a way that is age-appropriate and easy to understand.

When we communicate our expectations, we are also setting boundaries and providing structure for children.

Children thrive in environments where there is consistency and predictability, and clear expectations help to create that sense of structure.

When children understand what is expected of them, they are more likely to feel secure and confident in their environment.

10. Give Children Choice

Giving children choices can be a powerful tool for helping them follow directions.

When children feel like they have some control over a situation, they are more likely to feel invested in it and engaged with it. This can lead to a greater willingness to cooperate and follow directions.

Giving children choices can also help them feel more independent and empowered. This is especially important for children who may be struggling with obedience or who are in a stage of development where they are seeking greater autonomy.

When children feel like they have some say in the matter, they are more likely to take ownership of their actions and feel more invested in the outcome.

Easy Tips for Encouraging Your Child to Follow Directions
Photo by Kamaji Ogino on Pexels

Final Thoughts

Encouraging children to follow directions is an important part of parenting, but it can be challenging.

By employing these strategies, parents can help create a more positive and collaborative relationship with their children, which can lead to a more harmonious and fulfilling family dynamic.

It will also prevent them from doing some unwanted behaviors like ignoring directions, delaying, arguing, or negotiating.

While it may take some time and effort to get children to consistently follow directions, with patience and persistence, parents can help their children develop the skills and habits they need to succeed in life.

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When should children be able to follow directions?

The ability of children to follow directions can vary greatly depending on their age, developmental stage, temperament, and other individual factors. However, generally speaking, children should be able to follow simple directions around the age of 2 to 3 years old.

How do you get children to follow instructions?

Getting children to follow instructions can be challenging, but there are several strategies that parents and caregivers can use to encourage cooperation and follow-through. Some of the strategies are using clear and simple language, getting down to their level, giving them verbal or descriptive praise, and giving one instruction at a time.

Why is it important to follow directions?

Following directions is an important life skill that plays a crucial role in both personal and professional success. When individuals are able to follow directions effectively, they are better to navigate the world around them, achieve their goals, and maintain positive relationships with others.

What is the importance of children following directions?

Children following directions is important for several reasons. First and foremost, it helps keep them safe. For example, following traffic rules, safety guidelines, or instructions from parents or caregivers can prevent accidents or injuries.

Why does my child have trouble following directions?

There are many reasons why a child may have trouble following directions, for example, it could be due to a delay or disorder in receptive language.