Delivering Effective Instruction

The methods used for delivering instructions will impact their effectiveness.

What follows are general guidelines and examples for the delivery of effective instructions.  Instructions should always be delivered when you have the child’s attention, preferably when you are in close proximity.

 

Guideline #1: Only one instruction or direction should be given at a time.
Effective Delivery: “Put your toys in the toy closet.”
Ineffective Delivery: “Pick up your toys, put them in the toy closet, sweep the floor and then meet me by the door.”
*Multiple directions given all at the same time make it less likely that a child will be successful in following the direction.  The number of instructions that can be delivered at once varies based on the individual child and usually increases over time.
Guideline #2: Directions or instructions should be direct and clear and should specify exactly what is expected.
 Effective Delivery: “Put your toys in the toy closet.”
 Ineffective Delivery: “I was thinking it’s about time for us to take care of things and get moving.”
 *Children should know EXACTLY what you are asking of them or else they may fail to comply simply because they do not understand your intent.  Vague instructions lead to poor follow through.
Guideline #3: Instructions or directions should be phrased in the positive, meaning they should tell the child what TO do, rather than what NOT to do.
 Effective Delivery: “Put your toys in the toy closet.”
 Ineffective Delivery: “Don’t leave your toys lying there.”
 *Directions given without clarity of what you are actually asking can be very  confusing and lead to non-compliance and frustration.
Guideline #4: Instructions or directions should not be phrased as suggestions.
 Effective Delivery: “Put your toys in the toy closet.”
 Ineffective Delivery: “How about you put your toys in the toy closet?”
 *Instructions phrased as suggestions give the message that the child has a choice in following the suggestion.
Guideline #5: Instructions or directions should not be phrased as questions.
 Effective Delivery: “Put your toys in the toy closet.”
 Ineffective Delivery: “Will you put your toys in the toy closet?”
 *Instructions phrased as questions suggests that the child has a choice of whether or not to follow an instruction.
Guideline #6: The delivery of instructions should be uninterrupted.
 Effective Delivery: “Put your toys in the toy closet.”
 Ineffective Delivery: “Put your toys away because we are having visitors and we don’t want the room to be so messy.”
*Interrupting instructions with explanations can distract a child from the direction itself.  If there are explanations, provide them BEFORE the instruction or direction is delivered.
Guideline #7: After being given a reasonable amount of time to comply, instructions should be followed by praise for complying or a warning/consequence for not complying.
 Effective Delivery: “Put your toys in the toy closet.”  If child fails to comply after a reasonable time, “Put your toys in the toy closet or you will not be able to play with them later.”
 Ineffective Delivery: “Put your toys in the toy closet.”  If child fails to comply after a reasonable time, “I said put your toys in the toy closet.”…”Put your toys away!”
*Instructions that are repeated over and over give the child the impression that they have many opportunities over a lengthy time to comply with your direction.

 

Web development by Panther Internet, Inc.