Does your child struggle with paying attention? Successful reading behaviors sprout from good listening skills and the ability to follow directions.
- Your child gazes around the room or out the window when you talk to him?
- You ask your child to go pick up the toys and when you check in later, the toys are still strewn about and your child is playing with his favorite toy?
- You ask your child to 1) turn off the computer 2) empty his backpack 3) close the door and 4) hang up his coat. He says “okay.” Gets up from the computer, stumbles over his backpack, walks by the open door, and throws their coat on a chair.
At this point you are probably ready to scream!
Q: What Should You Do If Your Child is Easily Distracted?
Take a deep breath, count to ten, and chuckle.
Right about now you are asking, “am I crazy?”
There is certainly enough stress in your life and your child’s. PARENTS: here are a few suggestions if your child is distracted and has trouble listening and following your directions and gets off task. It is not necessarily just a matter of maturity. Make sure your requests are age and developmentally appropriate.
- Make sure their hearing has been checked recently.
- Stand directly in front of them when delivering instructions…don’t shout it from the laundry room.
- Make sure your child is making eye contact with you.
- Make sure your child’s hands are not doing something else.
- Set up a signal or verbal cue such as light blinks three times, soft bell rings, wave a scarf…
- If your child is old enough to read, present your instructions in writing.
- Have your child verbally repeat your directions back to you.
- Model good listening skills whenever they talk to you…stop what you are doing and listen to them if you want to develop respectful listening to you.
- Deliver directions one at a time.
- Reinforce them with a compliment or star chart or extra computer time, etc. when your child listens and follows your directions.
- Have your child time themselves to complete their assigned tasks with a reward to follow.
- Establish a chart for repeated chores and expectations.
- Let consequences be clear: communicate clearly that if they do not complete the directions, they will lose time to do something they want later, like watch TV or use the computer.