“I don’t know if he doesn’t understand the directions, or just chooses not to listen.”…. I can’t count the number of times I have heard this from parents!! As a speech-language pathologist, I always want to know whether or not my client can understand spoken directions. But if children are struggling to attend, how do we know whether or not they understand our directions?
Below, I have listed a few tips for following directions in a fun way! 1. Do Something Silly In my experience, kiddos love to follow directions when it allows for some out-the-box play! Give some goofy directions during play, like “Can you roll the play dough into a ball and put it on your nose?!”. This will catch your child off guard (and will most likely lead to some laughter)! 2. Use Motivating Activities Do you enjoy completing mundane tasks that feel like chores? I know I don’t, and kids don’t either! Instead of measuring your child’s comprehension by asking him to do something routine, like “get your shoes and bring them to me”, try incorporating favorite things. At this time of year, there are so many ways to give ‘fun’ directions! For example, “Can you find the red Christmas ornament and put it on the tree?” or “Get the big present and bring it here! Then you can open it.” 3. Join In on the Fun Joining your child in play is fun for everyone! It also allows you to model the correct way to follow directions. You might play with play dough, build a lego tower, or color a picture with your child. For example, while coloring, you could say something like, “Look! I can get the purple crayon and color the princess’s hair purple. That is silly! Now can you get the red crayon, and color her crown red?!”.If you are wondering whether or not your child is meeting milestones for following directions (or meeting milestones of other speech and language skills), check out the Ages and Stages of Speech and Language handout here. Also, take a look at Sarah’s most recent blog post, describing skills children should have mastered by two years of age!
Enrichment Therapy & Learning Center has locations in the Iowa City, IA area and Des Moines, IA area. We provide individual speech-language therapy and tutoring as well as offering small group academic programs. At Enrichment Therapy & Learning Center our passion is to help kids achieve effective communication skills and gain academic success. Contact us for more information on how we can help your child succeed.
740 Community Drive, Unit A
North Liberty, IA 52317
5530 West Pkwy, Suite 300
Johnston, IA 50131