Q:

Please give me some tips to help my 8-year-old son follow directions. He has problems with this both at home and at school. -- HELP

A:

Children who do not follow directions definitely struggle in school. Many students do have problems focusing and staying focused on what the teacher is talking about. They often become distracted by other things or thoughts. This causes the child to miss out on specific steps or directions that are needed to complete an assignment. Talk over with your child's teacher what techniques might help him focus better. The following tips might help your child focus better at school and at home:

  • -Directions at school should be in writing and also given orally.
  • -Homework directions could be recorded to be replayed at home.
  • -Make directions simple and easy to follow.
  • -After giving directions, pause and have the child repeat the directions whenever possible.
  • -Raise or lower your voice to capture a child's attention.
  • -Use assignment notebooks.
  • -Use checklists.
  • -Don't give directions at home unless you have your child's total attention.
  • -Consider using awards when directions are followed.

Do work on your son's direction following skills at home. It will pay dividends at school. Play games with him requiring listening skills like Simon Says. Have him close his eyes and identify sounds. Clap or tap out a rhythm pattern, and have your son repeat the pattern. Hide a small object and give him directions to find the item. Use books on tape and have your son tell you what just happened or what he thinks will happen next.

Being a good listener means focusing on what is being said and mulling it over in your mind. Another way to help your child is by always modeling good listening when your child is talking to you.