Giving Directions to Your Child

This post comes from Diann D, Grimm, M.A., CCC. ED.S. in the publication offered by Communication Skill Builders.  It is dated 1988, but the premise is very applicable to today.  This information is timeless.

Part I:  Language impaired children may have problems following directions because they have difficulty understanding language.  It is important to give clear, simple directions.  You can help your child learn how to understand language and how to do a specific job at the same time.

How Can Parents Improve Their Direction-Following?

1.  Try to eliminate distractions before giving directions.   Distractions, including a radio, TV, or   others talking, make it harder for your child to listen to your directions.

2.  Make sure your child is listening when you give directions.  Make sure your child is listening when you give directions.  Get down to your child’s eye level so the child can see your facial expression.  Squat down if you have to.

3.  Pair gesture with directions.  Point to objects and their locations.  Try to use natural gesture, e.g.  “Come here” paired with the hand gesture.  “Give it to me” paired with your hand reaching for item.  “Go to your room and get your coat” paired with pointing to your child’s room.

4. Speak clearly and not too rapidly.

5.  Use repetition.  Repeating directions for your child is very helpful.  Give your child time to think about the directions before you repeat them.  With older children, you can ask your child to repeat your directions after you.  This “activates” your child’s memory.  It also tells you, if the child actually understood your directions.

There will be a second part to this post because ther is a lot of information about helping your child follow directions.

Your feedback is welcome.