It’s frustrating dealing with a child who can’t follow directions.
You know what that looks like: you tell your 8 year old to take out the garbage, get into pajamas, and feed the dog, thinking it should take about twenty minutes until liftoff.
A half hour later, you see your son standing in the kitchen in his underwear giving the dog a good back scratch.
You’d be annoyed if you could – but you know he’s not misbehaving intentionally. But this isn’t the first time he’s gotten directions mixed up, sometimes with permanent consequences.
You’ve tried numerous workbooks for grade-schoolers that claim to teach your child to follow directions, but they didn’t help at all.
Is there anything you can do, or is your child doomed to be one of the hopelessly confused?
Why having trouble following directions is just the beginning.
Having trouble following directions is just the tip of the iceberg for most kids.
That’s because being able to follow directions means being proficient at perceiving and remembering the order of things, otherwise known as sequencing. Tying shoes, reciting the alphabet in order, understanding the difference between “before” and “after” or “yesterday” and “tomorrow,” all require good sequencing skills.
Some kinds of information are meant to be processed as one whole. Remembering what your great-aunt Matilda looks like is one example. Other kinds of information are purely sequential, such as phone numbers, the order of the months of the year, or keeping track of a story plot.
These are meant to be taken in one at a time, bit by bit, in order to be understood and remembered. A child who has trouble with sequencing (and their parents) will find themselves stymied in numerous areas – despite average (or better) intelligence.
Fortunately, sequencing is a skill that can be learned. Here are some things you can do to help the child who has sequencing issues: