As a parent, you probably ask yourself at times, “how do I get my preschooler to follow directions?” As we all know, children have minds of their own and may or may not want to listen to us all of the time. I thought you might like to see some ideas that have been working for us at Horizon for quite some time now. These ideas might help you at home too. Here they are:
- When walking from one point to the next, (especially when you want them to walk) have them put their hands on their heads, knees, shoulders or nose or whatever you would like. Play a game with them: say, ok, put your hands on your shoulders (while you have your hands on your head). Make it fun! Say, “is that your shoulders”? As you are doing something different from what you are saying, the children think you are funny and now, walla, you have their attention!
- Make noise! After all, noise doesn’t hurt anything, really. We have cowbells at Horizon, and we use them sometimes to reach a goal. As an example, when the students do crabwalks, forward rolls, cartwheels, gallops or anything really, as they reach the designated spot, they ring the cowbell! How exciting! They absolutely love that!
- Whisper. Change it up a bit. If you say shhhhh and then whisper, the children stop and listen. It is really fun! They might even whisper too!
- High 5s. What possibly could be more fun than praise? As the children give something a good try (they do not need to be perfect) we give them a high 5. This could be something as simple as walking instead of running across the room, or doing a skill as a forward roll or log roll, or sitting on their carpet square – – anything they do as a good try is worth a high 5! As we believe in them, they believe in themselves! It’s great :).
- Listen to them. First we listen to the children, then it’s their turn to listen to us. Do they have their ‘listening ears on’? Respect is very powerful. When we respect the students, they respect us back! Children are so much fun, don’t you think? Have fun with these points! Enjoy!