How many times throughout your child’s daily routine do you ask them to complete a task? Telling your child ‘Sit down’ or telling them something more complex like, ‘Sit down, put your shoes on, and then put your jacket on’ are all asking him/her to follow directions. In terms of speech and language, following directions is focused on a child’s receptive language or to put it simply, what the child understands. Following directions is an essential functional skill for a child to develop and there are several ways you can practice with your kiddo at home.
Do you have a passion for baking, and you would love to share that passion with your child? How about baking together?! Baking cookies can be a fun and fantastic way to practice following directions.
When we read a baking recipe it is essentially a list of directions that we must follow in order to successfully bake cookies. If we mess up or do not read one direction and follow it correctly the result can be very different from what we anticipate. When a child does not understand a direction given to them the result can also be something different than what we expect. Beginning with one-step directions is a good place to start while baking with your kiddos. An example would be telling your child, ‘Get a bowl out.’ If that direction is too difficult you can help your child by guiding them to the cupboard, putting your hand over theirs and opening a cupboard, then pulling out the bowl together. After you complete the direction together you can reinforce the action by cheering for your kiddo and even saying, ‘Yay! You got the bowl!’. You can continue with these simple one-step directions throughout the entirety of cookie making. Baking cookies might take a little extra time but will sure be worth it to teach your kiddo how to follow directions!
READY FOR MORE DIRECTIONS?
Once one-step directions have been mastered by your child, you can give them a multi-step direction to follow. You can tell your child to ‘Take the bowl out and set it on the table’. Once they successfully follow your directions be sure to reinforce the success with your preferred reinforcement, whether it is a high five or a big cheer. For kid’s still working to master multi-step directions sometimes having a visual aid to support the directions you are giving them can be very helpful.
With warmth and gratitude,
The Fox Team