Many children face a difficulty in following directions. It may be as seemingly trivial as writing the name on the top of a paper, to something seemingly serious as going to the bathroom before going somewhere out.
Most parents dismiss it as the kid trying to be difficult, while some read too much into it, and start considering the chances of their child being dyslexic. Which is it? None.
The child is simply having a difficulty in abiding by orders. It is not a very serious problem. However, dismissing it may push your child into other psychological issues like low self-esteem and low confidence. All you need to do is try out a few activities and tests for them, to sharpen those senses, and aid in your child's development.
Activities that Aid Children in Complying with Directions
These are more like games to get a child to understand the directions, and then follow them. They are a part of things to know while raising kids.
For kindergarten children, difficulties in complying with directions is very normal. While most children do it to test their parents' patience and try their discipline, there are kids who face genuine difficulties. The activities for them need to be simple and slow.
- Ask them to write the alphabets, but to write the vowels in red.
- Next, you can ask them to write the consonants in blue, and the vowels in red.
- Set up a treasure hunt game. This will make them hunt for the prize, by following directions only.
- Make them write down every direction, and refer to it. This itself will be a direction for them to follow.
Such activities make them take an effort to perform tasks. More so, they are normal activities, which will not make them go through a feeling of being wrong in any way. One must always remember that children, at this age, are very delicate. One wrong impression on their mind could affect them for life.
For Middle School
Middle school is that time of life when you learn how to break rules. However, if the child will have difficulties obeying them, in the first place, it's going to be tough. At this age, it is a little difficult for the children to make an attempt to follow directions, this is because they want to accomplish things on their own, feel like elder kids.
- Do not take them everywhere. Once in a while, let them go to close-by places on their own. Explain the route, and ask them to follow it. Make sure you tell them to call you when they reach their destination. If they don't call you in their estimated time of arrival, call them to make sure all is well.
Parents and teachers need to understand that rebellious nature is not always what it may seem. So, if the child seems to be rebelling to things too often, then try to find out why. A difficulty in following orders may seem like rebellious nature at times. Hence, keep a keen eye on such behavior.
Tips for Children to Follow Directions
While it may seem very simple to perform the tests and activities, there are a few things to keep in mind while dealing with children in this case.
- Do not interrupt them. This may scare them from trying to do it on their own again. Just make sure that you are approachable in case they wish to ask for help.
- Realize that it is not very easy for them, so do not lose your temper if they fail a few times.
- Do not criticize them. People think that it motivates the children, but that is a blatant mistake. Criticism, at this stage, will only push them into believing in what you say, and giving up on themselves.
- Whenever they accomplish a particular difficult activity, give them positive motivation to make them happy.
- Just because the child has a problem, it is not a reason to sympathize, patronize, and pamper. They need to be treated like other children. Too much pampering and help will make them more dependent on you.
Such people are often known as the mavericks or rebels, while all they need is someone to give them the right directions. They need to avoid their impulses to rebel, and simply follow the directions. It will take time, but in time, they will accomplish it.