5 Tips to Encourage Your Child to Follow Directions in 2023

Children follow directions

Every kid is different in terms of learning and thinking abilities. Therefore, it becomes essential for parents to tailor their specific practices to guide their children to follow directions.

Parents struggle to teach kids to follow directions and get their attention, especially if it is their first child. And with the right approach, things can be simple. So, here are a few tips for you to properly encourage your child to follow directions.

Get Your Child’s Attention

If you decide to teach your child to follow directions when they are not focusing on you, it is a failure for both. You can use little commands that interest the child, such as, “look at me, please,” “I want you to listen to me!” or others.

If that fails, you can use your child’s favorite toy or a funny sound to get their attention. You can continue by helping them follow directions only when you have their attention. You can move into the child’s line of sight to have better chances of quickly acquiring their attention.

Be Clear & Concise in Your Instructions

When teaching or giving directions to your child, make sure you use fewer words, considering their age and mental development needs. If you use many words to convey the direction, their minds might need help processing it fully.

As a result, they will repel the instruction. The language must be kid-friendly at all times to make it interesting for them. You need to tell your kid to follow directions and not ask them. This is one form of clarity that most parents should take advantage of.

Most parents try to be too humble to their kids, for which they give directions as questions. You must know that this isn’t going to help them learn at all. For instance, “Would you set the table, please?”. When you say this to your kid, they will think they can choose to follow or not follow the direction.

Instead, you could say, “Set the table, please,” which will guide the kid to follow the directions without any alternative way out. Now that is clarity!

Keep Aside All Distractions

Interested black dad engaged in building wooden brick towers with a school-age girl and little boy at home

As you have your child’s attention now, hold onto it. Be gentle and ask your child to put down the books, toys, or gaming consoles they are using to avoid distractions. You should do that right before you start giving them directions.

Maintain eye contact with your baby, but have that sweetness on your face. This way, your child will understand that you are saying something important. To see if your kids are paying attention to you, ask them to repeat the directions with you.

If they can explain the direction in their own words, then they do have their attention on you. You can continue with your lessons or directions.

Be Realistic with Your Directions

When giving directions, ensure they are realistic for the child to follow. If they can’t do it at first, then take time to teach them more about it and spend a little extra time with that particular instruction.

Following that, you should help the kids with a waiting time of around three to seven seconds. Professional teachers use it to let the children process the instruction and act accordingly after they process it.

Be sure of the fact to give one instruction at a time to your kid. For instance, if you say, “Please set the table, bring your plate, ask mom for the food and ask your sister to join the table,” it is too much for the child to process. It is because the age factor for following directions that are so complex is far away from being realistic.

So, let your kid follow the instructions individually as you instruct them. If your child is already good at following directions, try grouping multiple directions sensibly. 

Do Not Yell

Make sure you are speaking quietly when you are talking to your kid. Raising your voice out of frustration will only scare the kid and delay things. Be soft with your tone, and your child will hold their attention on you.

It is easy to lose your patience at some times when you think your efforts are going in vain. You can take a break at all times, but a harsh tone and raised volume might change your child’s focus from your instructions to your high pitch.


Spending more time with your baby during the initial days is a good idea. You will know a few things they respond to and pay attention to. Keeping that in mind, you can craft your entire guide to help them follow directions.

With these tips, you might have a better experience settling down with your kid to teach them to follow your directions. It is better if both parents settle down for these activities, as the child must learn to follow the instructions from either of you. You can also get help from DeeCyDa’s various programs, such as Infant Program, Caterpillar Program, and Butterfly Program, which help your kids flourish and develop through pretend play and fun activities.

Contact us at DeeCyDa Child Care and Learning Center in Irvine, California, if you want your child to learn these activities in a fun and safe environment.



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