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Giving Good Instructions to your Preschool Child

Do you find it difficult to get your child to do something? Do you find yourself repeating several times? One big reason may be the way you are asking. Children are not built the same way as adults are. You cannot use the same method of instruction on your child as you would with your spouse or an adult. For a young child to understand instruction, it has to be done differently. Here are some hints.

 

When our daycare teachers want to give direction to young children, the first thing they do is to get their full attention. Be within three feet of your child, call out her name and talk to her in a calm voice. Give her directions of what you want her to do in a slow and clear manner. Ensure you have eye contact.

 

Be clear and concise in your directions. For a young child a long sentence often can confuse. The fewer words the better when dealing with preschool age children. For a two year old, ‘shoes on’ is sufficient; and for a five year old ‘please get your shoes on’ is good enough. It becomes very difficult to understand when too many words are used. Instructions should not include vague words.

 

Give your child one instruction at a time. You will lose her the moment you string several instructions in a row altogether. She will forget, not understand or do the wrong thing. Ask yourself if you are expecting too much. Give your child an instruction that you know she can follow. For example: expecting a three year old to pick out her clothes and get dressed herself may be a little too much to ask for.

 

Always be positive. When our daycare teachers spend time with children, they more often tell them what they want the children to do rather than what not to do. When you express negative behaviour like ‘don’t run’, you are still keeping other options open. When you instead, say ‘walk, please’, it does not allow for other options.

 

These are only some tried and tested ways our Montessori teachers use and see a great improvement in children. Try some yourself!