Parenting Coach

Practical ideas for social, emotional and behavioral challenges

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Give short, simple instructions.

What you can do

Help your child follow instructions by giving them one at a time. Keep your sentences short and simple. Make sure you’re close enough to look your child in the eye. If possible, sit or bend down so that your eyes are on her level.

Use a calm voice and address your child by name. Repeat the directions, and make sure your child understands them by asking her to repeat them back to you.

What you can say

“Sofia, can you look at Mommy? It’s time for you to clean up your Legos. Let’s put the Legos in the red bin. Where are you going to put your Legos? Great job cleaning up your Legos!”

Why this will help

Young children and especially those with attention issues need extra help following directions. This is because they tend to get distracted easily and may have difficulty holding on to more than one instruction at a time.

Making eye contact as well as physical contact, such as gently putting your hand on your child’s shoulder, can help focus her attention on what you’re saying.

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