Time for Your Toddler to Follow Directions

Toddlers Can Learn to Follow Directions

Be Specific

directions throwing ball

Show and tell toddler how to throw a ball.

Your baby is now a toddler!  This is a perfect time to practice giving directions.What a fun time for exploring the world around them.    Your toddler will be excited to respond to your requests. Remember to be very clear and specific so your toddler will understand your expectations.  You can often use just a single word.  You may say, “throw”, and make the gesture of throwing a ball.  Your toddler will catch on very quickly.  Also, you may give your toddler a choice.  You may say, “fruit or yogurt”, and show them both options.  Be sure to give your toddler time to process to make a decision.

Have Fun

directions with play kitchen

Toddlers love playing with plastic food.

Giving and following directions can be fun.  Toddlers are always keeping busy and moving around. Play time can actually provide great opportunities.  You can teach your toddler how to role-play.  Show and tell your toddler how to feed their baby or stuffed animal.  Show and tell your toddler how to, “cook”, with plastic or real food.  They will love to listen and copy your movements. Listening to music on the radio, tv, or CDs is always fun.  Play, “freeze dance” with your toddler. Give a command like, “stop”, “sit”, “jump”, and so on while listening to music.  This will get the wiggles out and practice following directions too.  Finally, be prepared to motivate and reward your toddler for their newly developed listening skills.  You can motivate by offering a treat.  Remember to follow up with the reward they are expecting!




It’s Your Turn:

Specific Directions

  • Be clear
  • Use a single word
  • Provide a choice
  • Allow time for understanding

Fun Directions

  • Role-play
  • motivate
  • reward
  • Listen to music/freeze dance

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