Tips for making Following Instructions stick
While it may not seem possible you can get your children to follow your instructions. Like anything else worthwhile it takes a little elbow grease and a lot of patience.
We aren’t ashamed to admit it, but we’ve been where you are. There were times when it didn’t matter what we said/did our children would just. not. listen. Would there ever come a day when they would not only listen, but, actually do what we ask them to do.
Eventually, yes. Once we started using the steps of Following Instructions. This change didn’t happen overnight. It happened piece by piece. Instead of obeying on the 10th time, they were obey on the 8th then the 5th and so on until they were doing things the first time we asked. That was a changing point in our family. There was a lot less frustration and a lot more happiness.
In the skill video we give 3 tips: Practice, teach ASAP, and be consistent.
Here are some additional things we found helpful that we think will help your family.
Get your children involved
Buy-in a good thing. Involving your children in the process is going to make it more effective. It’s going to be a lot more effective if you have your children watch Following Instructions class video with you. (It’s ok if you need to give them a reward them so they’ll watch it). We provide real-life examples so families can see exactly what the skill looks like and what is expected of them.
Give your children a meaningful reason
Give a reason that is meaningful to your children why they need to learn the skill of Following Instructions. The key is to find what is meaningful to them and not meaningful to us. So I won’t yell more (meaningful to us) so you don’t earn extra chores (meaningful to them). Use the Finding a Meaningful Reason to help you figure out what is motivating to your child.
So hard. We know. If the skill of Following Instructions hasn’t been something your family has used, it’s going to take bit for the habit to form. We found that one of the best ways to be consistent is to turn learning the skill into a game. Kids love games and working towards something will probably remind when you forget. For younger children this simple stamp activity is quite effective.
Praise your children’s efforts
Praising any effort—no matter how small—is the best to get repeat behavior. Using these Praise beads helps both you and your child remember to praise.
Reward their effort
When your child is learning a new behavior, rewarding them for their effort goes a long way. It’s sometimes hard to remember to reward our child so this chart helps you track that. Give them a small reward every time they reach a gold star.
Download: Following Instructions Reward Tracker
The biggest tip we can give is to remember to practice the steps of Following Instructions. Start this practice as soon as you learn the skill and continue practicing with everyday things until both you and your child have mastered the steps of Following Instructions.