1.Make your expectations clear
- Tell rather than ask. Do not ask a question. Tell them what you expect. Eg “Come inside now please, it’s time for dinner.” “Pick up the blocks please”.
- Say exactly what you mean. Instead of saying “Tidy your room”, say “Put your toys back in the box”.
- Give them one thing to do at a time at first and then when they’re in the habit of doing as they’re told you’ll be able to string a few activities together.
- Don’t get into persuading, coaxing or discussing your instructions. If you do your children will get your attention for not doing what you’ve asked.
2.Watch for co-operation – wait a reasonable length of time – say 30 seconds then:
- If they co-operate give them positive attention – every time at first eg “that’s great, you did a good job of putting away your toys”. Once your children are co-operating regularly a simple “thank you” will be enough.
- If they don’t co-operate repeat the command but this time firmer and shorter.
- If they co-operate the second time give positive attention but not as enthusiastically as if they’d done it the first time.
- If they don’t comply the second time don’t give another command but apply time out or natural or logical consequences.