Ways to Teach Your Child to Follow Directions

Before a child starts Kindergarten, they should learn to follow directions.  They will have a much easier time transitioning to the classroom if you, as parent, have helped them learn to listen and follow simple directions.  Both your child and his teacher will greatly benefit from this exercise and there are many fun ways to help develop this skill.

Ways to help your child learn to follow directions:

  1. Teach your child to make eye contact when spoken to.
  2. Give very simple directions, using few words.
  3. Give your child a moment to process what you said.
  4. Make sure you have your child’s attention.
  5. Ask your child to repeat the direction back to you.

Fun things to do to develop the skill of Following Direction:

  • Play Simon Says.  This requires good listening and direction-taking to win the game.
  • Play Boardgames.  Simple board games for preschoolers include simple directions.  Explain the directions and help your child learn the game so he can follow the directions.
  • Make up a Treasure Hunt or Scavenger Hunt game.  Make sure the directions are very simple, so your child has a good chance of finding the treasure.
  • Print simple worksheets for preschoolers, as these often have basic instructions, such as circle the right number of objects beside the numbers given.  You will have to read the instructions, no doubt, but read them slowly so that your preschooler can understand and follow the direction.
  • Make up Silly games to reinforce direction-taking.  For example, you could say “Let’s play I am the Robot”. Each person gets to take a turn giving 3-5 word directions.  “Go to the kitchen”  “get a plastic fork”  “draw a triangle” … you get the point.

Whatever you choose to do, keep it fun and remember the goal is to reinforce, listening and being able to follow through.

by Sharon Pierce McCullough

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