Helping Your Young Children to Follow Instructions

Ivy Prep Team on February 8, 2019

You probably already know this, but learning how to follow instructions isn’t always that easy for little ones. It can be really hard for them to understand the importance of listening to what their parents and caretakers say. How many times have you noticed your little one deeply invested in his toy? You asked him to put his toys away and get ready for nap time. If he was really interested in playing at the moment, it probably took a lot of convincing to get him up and away from his play area! Nine times out of ten, your child isn’t really trying to be disobedient or defiant. Most likely, he or she is just really interested in what’s going on at the moment! And when you ask them to stop doing what they’re really enjoying in order to do something else, it’s hard for them to understand why.

Helping your little ones to follow instructions a little better is more of a matter of understanding how to give instructions in a way that they’ll understand. Let’s break this down a little more.

Why Do Kids Struggle to Follow Instructions

It seems a little strange. Doesn’t everyone know how to give instructions? Well, yes, most people do. But, when it comes to giving directions to young children, you might have to do things a little differently than you would if you were speaking with an older child or an adult. Basically, younger children struggle to follow instructions because they need to know why they should listen to you. If we go back to the example of “toy vs. naptime”, it’s definitely something to think about. Your child might be thinking, “Why should I stop doing this ‘fun thing’ and go to sleep, which is not fun?” To your little one, the matter at hand is more important than the next thing on your daily routine list. Although nap time (and pretty much anything else you need your children to do) is important, what they’re doing right now is their priority.

Understanding. It’s what you need in order to best work with your little ones. Of course, your little ones will have a hard time understanding your side of things. But, you can definitely do your best to understand their point of view. We’ve pointed out the main reason why your little ones might be struggling to follow instructions. Sometimes, doing something else just isn’t as interesting to your kiddos. But, there are some things you can do in order to make moving on to another activity less difficult for your little ones. And, the better you get at giving instructions, the more likely your children will be to follow them! Let’s take a look at some of the things you can do in order to better encourage your young ones to listen to and heed directions.

How to Best Give Directions to Young Children

First things first, get down to your kids’ level. Try to be at their eye level when you give them instructions. Encourage them to look you in the eye as you speak to them. This encourages effective communication and creates the opportunity to have a conversation, rather than a lecture. Next, speak clearly; make sure your child can clearly understand what you’re saying. Remain calm, even if you feel yourself getting a little flustered. Remember, you can see the big picture of things. You know that what you’re asking of your children is important. But, your little ones don’t quite understand that. So, calmly, yet firmly, help your kids to listen.

Here at Ivy Prep Early Learning Academy, we know that children grow and learn differently. So, we work to cater to the various learning styles of the little ones in our care. If you’re looking for a place where your kids can learn more about effective communication while gaining academic growth, just contact us today!


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