Trouble Listening & Following Directions


Hi there,

My son is 6 & in 1st grade. Sometimes he has a hard time listening & following directions, or with wanting to help a classmate out at the wrong time. Last week he had trouble with this 2 different days, with last Friday being the most difficult for him, as twice he had to go down to the office.

Both times I happened to be there at the school & found out it was mainly just not following directions when he heard them, or having to be told something more than once. One incident was that he was trying to help a classmate during computer time to find his computer, but got in trouble for not following directions to only tell that classmate it was his turn to use the computer. We have been talking about listening & following directions at school regularly.

Do you have any suggestions in working with my son, or any ideas I could discuss with his teacher?



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Listening and Following Directions
by: Lynda

Hi Tia,

Bless your heart! I know this is upsetting! Let's look at the physical side first, just to be sure. Test his hearing: Stand behind him, and call his name, and do other things like that. Then, if you have any question at all about this, I suggest you get his hearing checked. They can probably do this at school.

Sometimes children think they are helping others, but whenever they stop listening to instructions, this can truly become a big problem in the classroom. If we allow even one student to do this, then there is no order. Why? Because other students will quickly jump in and do the same thing!

At school, the teacher's top priorities must be the safety of the children and order in the classroom. The learning environment must be preserved!

No one can learn a thing whenever even one person is not cooperating. Why? Everyone in the room is watching the one who is not following directions. They are not listening then.

No matter how cute the little ones are or how much we adore them, our job is to teach them ... teach them tons of academic skills, as well as socially acceptable behavior at school.

Your son is young and probably thinks he is doing the right thing. But becoming a good listener is one of the top skills - not only in class - but everywhere he will go in this world.

Of course, you want him to become a good listener. At home, it is easy to "let it go" whenever our children sometimes do not listen or do what we say. But really, we are doing them a huge disservice if we do not insist on them listening to us at home.

In fact, we have to work hard and train ourselves to make sure our children listen to us, and then go and do what we have asked them to do! lol It is not always easy, to say the least!

If you do not understand why he was sent to the office, please ask the teacher to tell you all of the details because you definitely need to know. Then, you can help your son fully understand.

Oh, and this is important: If your son sees that you are confused or hesitant about this situation, or he thinks you do not support the teacher, he will not change his behavior.

After talking to his teacher and having another heart-to-heart talk with your son, you should continue teaching him to listen and follow directions at home. You probably know it, but this is one of the most difficult skills there is to teach any young child! You must be consistent in your directions and follow ups, or it will not work.

I wish you the best, and I hope your son enjoys the rest of his school year. Most of all, I hope he becomes the best listener in his class! I hope this info helps! :)

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