April 25, 2009

Listening and Following Directions

Amy Anderson is at it again, this time with some tips about helping preschool-age children with listening and following directions.

Here’s a sample of what she says:

  • Get down on your child’s level - eye contact is good, and it is also less intimidating to your child.
  • Make sure you have your child’s full attention before giving directions. Be straight-forward: “I am going to tell you what to do now. Ready?”
  • Keep your directions short and simple - preschoolers are not known for their extensive attention spans.
  • Use visual cues if you can — point the direction you want him to go; touch her feet if you want her to get shoes on.
  • Ask your child to repeat back the directions. My four-year-old likes to count on her fingers while she retells what she needs to do. Whatever works!
  • Be predictable. If you always tell your child to first clear his plate, then wash his hands, he will have a better chance of remembering what to do.
  • Have appropriate expectations. Don’t give your child a three-step direction if you know she is not capable of remembering three steps. Break it down step-by-step until she is ready.
For more, read the whole article here.

April 22, 2009

Initiative, Independence, & Responsibility

Amy Anderson at Let's Explore has a good article about fostering these skills in preschool childen. Her advice, in part is to:

Encourage your child to complete self-help tasks, such as cleaning up spilled juice or sweeping up paper from a cutting project.

Break complicated tasks into small steps and celebrate all the little successes along the way.

Praise the effort, not the task: “You didn’t give up and kept trying until you opened the toothpaste. Way to go!”

Build extra minutes into your daily routines to allow your child to complete tasks without being hurried — such as putting on his own socks, buckling her own seat belt, etc.

These are all great but I particularly like the last one. Chronic parental rushing stunts the development of initiative in children.