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How To Give Commands To Children

  • Post By: MMansi Seth
  • 07 Jun 2016

You face a lot of problems with a growing child. In fact, your frustration grows as your child grows. This frustration emanates from child’s behaviour, which can drive you nuts. Often you think that the child is not following your commands, or may be ignoring them altogether. His reply to your instructions may include `wait’, `in a minute’, in case he has decided not to ignore you completely. After a while you end up being frustrated, irritated and angry. You often resort to yelling. But, have you ever thought that it may not be his fault. In fact, you may be at fault. Your communications and understanding may be faulty. Just think about why your child is not listening to you- is it because your way of giving command is not right    

Here are few common mistakes which parents do while giving instructions.

Choose proper words
Sometimes the way you give the directions or the words you choose may be weak. It is important to choose your words carefully. Giving commands like `will you do your homework’, convey the message that command is optional or sounds like one. ‘Go and do your homework now’, is  a better way of issuing instructions. Thus, give commands with authority instead of sounding like as if you are asking for a favour.

Avoid too many commands
Go easy while giving directions. If you give your child plenty of commands at a time, or hundreds of them in a day, there are chances that he will start ignoring you. Never bombard a child with instructions. Try to give only few important instructions. Let him complete the task in his own way. If he is committing a mistake, make him understand and correct him.

Never be repetitive
If you constantly repeat a instruction, you child might develop the habit of not listening to you. Also, repetitive commands will ensure that he develops the habit of not listening to you the first time around. Avoid saying ``I have told you 5 times to do your homework’’. Do not allow your child to ignore you and delay the task.

Do away with certain words, phrases
It is very important to choose right words and frame your phrases correctly. Parents often use phrases which make their instructions less effective. What you say is not important, how  you say it is more important. Stop using following  words and phrases while giving command to your child

  • Let’s

‘Let’s do the home’ - It implies a  joint effort

  • Can you

‘Can you arrange your books?’- It can invite a sarcastic response

  • Ok

‘Let’s get up, Ok?’- It can invite negative response

  • You’d better

‘You’d better complete your homework’ – It sounds like a threat, which can make your child stubborn and arrogant.

  • I want you to

‘I want you to’- this starting command with it is not helpful. Your child thinks that the task is not important but he has to do it just because his mom or dad wants him to do it.

Motivate your child
It is important to correct your child. But do not interrupt, let him complete the task the way he wants to. If there is flaw, make him understand and then help him to do it the right way. Parents usually say ‘I am not going to tell you again’, this doesn’t help. If you persist with this, he may do the task once, but not regularly. So you need to motivate your child.

Positive reinforcement
It is important to offer positive reinforcement, which many parents do not do. Without this, your child may lose the motivation to do the task and follow your instructions. You need to pay attention to each task that he is performing and completing. You must not forget to applaud him for good work. You could offer him extra time to play. Positive reinforcements are motivational.