Instruction Routine: Step Three

Hi! I'm Ed Miller.
This week, I've been talking about helping our children follow instructions using a good "Instruction Routine." Have you been following along? Have you tried it in your home? I'm going to talk about Step Three today. If you missed the first two articles, you might want to read those before continuing. 

Parent: Give the Instruction Clearly

Let's start by watching a dramatization of a father interacting with his sons. You may be able to relate to this situation. 

This was my approach to giving instructions for many years. I was trying to be "nice" to my kids, but my instructions weren't really instructions at all. They were suggestions. This seems to happen with many parents. You can see in the video that the boys don't respond very well. They're being given a suggestion and their responding accordingly. They don't want to get their coats on because they're having a good time. So, they're not very cooperative. Dad has to get more intense and raise his voice and then they finally comply. 

Now, let's see what happens when a clear instruction is given. Remember that suggestions aren't bad. Give suggestions and choices to your kids all the time. But, there are times when you need compliance and in those times you need to give a clear and simple instruction. Let's see what happens when the father gives a clear, calm and simple instruction. 

Now that was much better! The instruction was simple and clear. The boys gave an answer back and jumped right to it. Did you notice that the father said "now" so that there was no doubt that he was looking for immediate action. I know what you're thinking. "It can't be that easy! My kids would never do that." Yes, that's right. They won't do it now without some vision casting and regular therapy. (That's just practice.) 

In the first article in this series, I talked about the importance of casting vision with you child for the important character qualities that you're trying to develop. (Cooperation and a responsiveness to authority.) If you haven't had that conversation yet, you need to start there. 

Next you need to practice, practice, practice, and practice some more. I talked about this in an earlier article as well, but it bears repeating. You won't make much progress without this important step. Start this when your child is young if possible, but remember that it's never too late. Each parent should repeat the simple routine (like get your coat on, brush your teeth now, etc.) 20 times each day for a week. You heard me correctly. You need to do the therapy. 

When dealing with children who are facing challenges like ADHD, OCD or something on the Autism Spectrum, it's also important to make sure that your instructions are not too complicated. A child dealing with any of these challenges just won't be able to process a multi-part instruction. They're not trying to be uncooperative, they just can't process a request with so many parts. 

This instruction routine, however, is excellent home therapy for kids with special needs. It clarifies in simple terms what's required and the practice builds an internal sense of "obligation" that contributes to more internal motivation when it comes to getting things done and cooperating. 


Take note of how you give instructions. How can you improve?
Share what you learned through this exercise in a comment below. Thanks.

Step Four is next.

Go to the Step #4 Article Now


There is a very special event happening in November and I’d like to invite you to join me. The Second Annual Legacy Grandparenting Summit will be held at Lake Pointe Church in Rockwall, TX from November 2-4, 2017. We have a very special discount to offer you as a friend of the National Center for Biblical Parenting. It’s the same as the Summit Group Discount, but you can come as part of our “group.” When you register, just use the discount code NCBP17 and that will reduce the price to $144.00 if you register before May 30. 2017. You can still use the code after that, but you won’t get the early bird pricing. Register Now!

The LegacyGrandparenting Summit has quite an array of fabulous speakers and artists as part of the program. I was in Dallas last year for the first Summit and everything about it was top notch. Lean more now. The subtitle for this summit is “Intentional Grandparenting Matters.” You’ll be inspired and challenged to find your calling in ministering to the next generation.


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