With video games, television and the internet children are often over-stimulated, leading to a common behavior problem, the inability to follow directions, or worse - the ability to follow directions but the refusal to do so, at home and at school. There are many preventative steps that you, as a parent, can take. If you are already experiencing difficulty with your child, here the same measures can be taken to help correct the problem.
Only when you are prepared to enforce, establish rules for following directions. If parents do not enforce their directions, then children learn that their parents don’t mean what they say.
Parents should get their children’s attention in a loving, patient and understanding manner. Avoid yelling directions from another room.
Watch your phrasing. Do not phrase directions as a question. (For example, don’t say “Would you like to read to me?)
Your children need you to be very direct. “Be good,” is very vague to a child. Parents should make their directions clear and specific; directions that tell children what to do instead of what not to do.
Show appreciation and praise them. Make sure you offer positive encouragement and let them know that they are doing a good job.
Children can and do learn to follow directions after one or no warning just as easily as they learn to follow directions after many warnings. If they know there is a time limit. If they trust their parents mean what they say. It isn't a game, when you ask something you expect them to follow directions.
There are some wonderful books to help children learn to follow directions:
• Joyful Learning: Follow the Directions!: 180 Daily Exercises That Help Kids Learn to Follow Written Directions... by Joyce Baltas, Denise Nessel and Joyce G. Baltas
• Follow-the-Directions: No-Cook Snacks: Easy & Healthy Step-by-Step Recipes That Help Children Build Beginning ... by Immacula Rhodes
• Smart Pads! Following Directions: 40 Fun Games to Help Kids Master Following Directions by Holly Grundon and Joan Novelli
• Follow-the-Directions: Easy Origami: Adorable Folded Paper Projects With Super-Easy Directions and Rebus Support... by Deborah Schecter