Helping Your Toddler Understand Multi-Step Instructions

Helping Your Toddler Understand Multi-Step Instructions

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When given to carry out tasks that involve multi-step directions, most toddlers mess up. It can leave parents clueless trying to figure out ways that can facilitate their toddlers’ learning. This article will show you interesting strategies for making toddlers follow multi step instructions.





It takes us years to realise the significance of prioritisation. We can be easily perplexed when performing tasks that involve laid-down procedures and a step-by-step methodology. Therefore, training toddlers to follow a set of directions or multi-step instructions is not an easy endeavour. Being the parent, you need a smart approach with practical tips to take your toddler through multi-step processes.

Multi-step Directions for Toddlers: When to Teach

Remember the first time your toddler returned your ‘bye’ with her little hands? Not only did it make you feel warm and fuzzy inside, but it also indicated her developing ability to mimic your actions. Babies start observing the actions of their parents’ and people around from the first three months of their lives. However, 5-6 years is the age when they can better understand multiple steps involved in an activity. This is the time when toddlers start sensing ‘I can do this’ and try to follow various instructions.




1. How Toddlers Learn to Follow Directions

  • By 18 months, toddlers’ vocabulary and capacity to hold mental images have remarkably enhanced. You can take this as the ripe time to deliver simple directions. With regular practice, you’ll soon see your child following easy three to four multi-step directions by the age of two.
  • With developed receptivity at 3 years of age, kids are in the process of learning how to follow more complex instructions. By directing a sequence of activities such as arranging clothes and lining up shoes, following multi-step directions can become easier for your toddler.
  • At 4 years old, your child has even better observation potential and can understand and learn various steps involved in a process. She can be asked to participate and can be given the choice of picking a favourite activity that’s fun to do and interesting.

2. Multi-step Direction Activities to Try

  • The old time game ‘Simon says’ has loads of instructions that have players constantly shifting body parts to be touched. This is a fun way to foster understanding of multi-step instructions.
  • Make your child draw a picture following the verbal clues you provide. Then, change roles and allow her to instruct you to draw. This is another exciting game to help her follow multi-step instructions.

3.Reasons Why Toddlers Can’t Follow Your Directions

  • Some kids can have trouble following instructions or commands because of poor working memory, the torch-bearer for us when we want to accomplish step-by-step instructions. Poor working memory hinders task sequences, which is why some toddlers have trouble following directions.
  • Some toddlers can find it difficult to focus and become distracted easily. Kids with ADHD or language learning issues can’t properly grasp what’s being said.
  • With time and perseverance, most children are able to understand and follow multi-step directions. If you do feel your toddler is lagging behind, consult with a specialist to rule out developmental issues.
  • Have you discovered a unique way to help your toddler understand multi-step directions? If so, we’d love to hear them!