How to Give Clear Directions

Clear Directions

How often you find yourself shouting a request up the stairs, or on your way out the door to an activity, only to find that nothing has been done? Who would have thought that there was a “right” way to give directions? 

There may not be a right or a wrong way, but there are some things that can increase the effectiveness of requests, either of your kids or your spouse.

  1. Make sure you have someone’s attention.  Eye contact? Distractions limited? You get the picture…
  2. Be specific:    “Pick up the toys and put them in the toy chest” rather than “clean your room.”
  3. Be positive:  Tell them what you want them to do rather than what not to do.  My favorite is “walk” rather than “don’t run.”
  4. Be brief:  “upstairs, bath, now” rather than a list of instructions, and a long drawn out version of why and what’s going to happen if they don’t.  Remember, our kids typically are challenged with working memory deficits.


Thanks to CHADD’s Parent to Parent Program for some of these concepts.

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