- Make sure you mean it! Never give a command that you do not intend to see followed to completion. Have in mind appropriate positive or negative consequences to back up request.
- Do not present the command as a question or favor. State the command simply, directly, and in a businesslike tone of voice.
- Do not give too many commands at once. Most children are able to follow only one instruction at a time. If the task is complicated break it down into smaller steps.
- Make sure your child is paying attention to you. Be sure you have eye contact. It is okay to gently turn your child’s face toward yours to ensure he or she is listening.
- Reduce all distractions before giving the command. It is unrealistic to expect your child to listen to you if something is more entertaining in the room. Turn off all distractions if possible.
- Ask your child to repeat the command. This does not need to happen with each request, but should happen if you are not sure if your child heard or understood your command.
- Make up chore cards if your child is able to read. List the steps involved in doing a chore on an index card and indicate how much time it should take to complete the chore. Set your kitchen timer for this time period.
From Defiant Children: A Clinician’s Manual for Assessment and Parent Training, Third Edition. Copyright 2013 by The Guilford Press. Permission granted for personal use.