How to give effective instructions to your child

How to give effective instructions to your child

One important role of parenting is providing your child with effective instructions so they will hear, understand and carry them out accordingly. There are times when a parent has a list of things they would like their child to do, but the instructions get lost in a sea of words. The swirl of words can become just noise to a child, so it’s important to cut down the talk and maybe even the amount of directives, depending on the age of the child.

Some tips to help you get your message across include …

  • Try to ensure there are little to no distractions when issuing a command, such as having the TV off.
  • Get down to their level, look directly into your child’s eyes and give them a specific instruction, such as “Please take off your shoes”.
  • Keep the instruction rationale simple and short.
  • Allow a few seconds for your child to process the instruction, then check they understand.
  • Give instructions one at a time, particularly if your child has attention challenges.
  • Stay calm and patient when issuing an instruction. If you are irritated or are having a bad day, be aware of these feelings – do some deep breathing or go to a quiet place for 10 minutes to regain your self-control and calmness.

It takes a little practice to find how best to communicate with your child, but they will learn to listen more if you give consistent and calm commands without a long explanation.

If you would like to learn more about understanding and supporting your child’s development, please contact us on 9334 0111 or to arrange to talk with one of our experienced Family Workers in a confidential setting.