AttyZoeMom's picture

3 y.o. and listening/following directions

He just doesn't do it...much.  How do or did you work with your child on listening and following directions?  How does a 4 y.o.'s ability to listen and follow directions compare to that of a 3 y.o.  What is developmentally appropriate and what is personality/temperament?  I should tell you now that I do not spank, slap, etc. and I do not use traditional time-outs. 


velcromom's picture

My ds was so easily distracted at the age of three, they do need very simple instructions accompanied by guidance through those instructions at that age. That plus a short attention span means you probably won’t be able to just give an instruction and have them do it alone.



My four year old can now carry out simple instructions independently but is still distractible and must be reminded and given ways to stay on task. A big difference between three and four for us is that at three, he understood but needed assistance, now he understands and has a different idea or just plain disagrees, lol.



One resource I used to clarify communication with my kids is Haim Ginott’s “Between Parent and Child” because it gives clear examples of ways to speak to kids that they don’t tune out or become defensive against. It’s helped me find ways of making requests (giving instructions) that my kids feel positive about cooperating with. One of his most helpful tips is to use fewer rather than more words in explanations. A good guide is a sentence per year. More talking than that and they start to ignore the sound of your voice, lol. But at three, they do still need a lot of guidance, especially when there is more than one step to your request.