Teaching Your Child to Follow Directions

Every parent and child has struggled with listening at some point in their relationships, and it can be one of the most frustrating things to go through for both parties. But there are ways to help reduce frustration on both sides while effectively teaching your child to not only listen the first time, but for them to want to listen the first time as well.

Here are a few things that parents can do as they are teaching their children that will help both of you through this growing pain.

Teaching Your Child to Follow Directions


Parents, Remain Calm

When it’s the fourth time you’ve told your kids something and they still won’t listen, it’s really easy to lose your cool out of your own frustration. So try adjusting your mindset and approach from the get-go next time.

Start out by calmly giving them a direction. Be patient but firm, and remember that teaching kids how to listen takes time. Patience will be your friend as you have to repeat these steps.

Parents, Be Direct

Make sure you are clear and concise with the directions you give your kids. If you aren’t, they may not be able to figure out how to execute each step of your instructions, which will cause confusion for both you and your child.

Instead of just saying, “Sit down,” say, “Can you please sit in that chair?” Giving clear, specific directions instead of general ones will help your kids and save your sanity in the long run.

Parents, Keep Directions Positive

Another thing to keep in mind is to keep your directions and commands on the positive end, meaning asking your kids what you WANT them to do or what they SHOULD be doing, not what they SHOULDN’T be doing.

Not to say that you shouldn’t say “No”, but try giving “Do” commands first instead. 

Parents, Make Sure to Give One Command At a Time

Kids can get easily overwhelmed if they are given too many directions at once. So make sure to give them one command at a time in the right order. This will make it much easier for you and your kids on this journey to learning good listening skills.


How you handle teaching your child to follow directions can help them either grow in a really healthy way or cause them to develop really mentally and socially unhealthy behaviors. But if you can make sure you are diligently trying to teach with some of the suggestions we have made above, you can help your child succeed well in life by learning how to follow directions.