How To Teach Kids New Skills

Do you ever feel lost or unqualified when attempting to teach your children new skills? Do you find it hard to give them the right instruction or to explain things in a way that resonates with them? While that is a completely normal feeling, it’s not true!  You are absolutely capable of teaching new skills to your kids and we will teach you how!! We Use this strategy to help teach your child essential life skills. You have a lot of valuable information to give your kids…we can help you communicate that knowledge in a simple, yet effective way! These four steps can be used to teach anything!   Repetition is key. If your child isn’t listening to instructions just yet, give these steps time, patience, and lots of repetition. 


In order for a child to learn a new skill, they need to be motivated. For instance, if they know that they will get rewarded with getting to play with their blocks if they say the word, “blocks,” then they will be motivated to use their skill of using words to describe what they want. Clearly communicate to them the reward for properly using their words.


Now that we have established an understanding of motivation, the next step is to give clear instructions for your child to follow. By using a simple command phrase like, “Say ‘blocks’!” your child will understand that they are able to ask for what they want.  


Now that you have given the child clear instructions, it is time for them to respond. The next action or behavior they should give is saying, “Blocks.” In order for the child to get what they want, the response needs to be what you asked for from them. If they don’t respond with your request, then they won’t get the reward they are looking for. 


The response you give back to your child’s behavior, whether positive or negative, is imperative in this last step. With positive reinforcement, a behavior will improve over time; and with punishment, a behavior will get worse over time. If your child is obeying your instruction, give them positive feedback such as “Thank you for saying ‘blocks’. Let’s build a castle!” This positive feedback will encourage them to continue following your instructions!

If your child decides not to obey your instructions, we encourage you to give corrective feedback instead of punishment. Your response should be calm such as, “Let’s try that again”. Keep your voice neutral and at the same level of your speaking tone while giving them the reinforcement that their response to your instruction was incorrect. Now that they know their response wasn’t correct, withhold the blocks and give the instruction again to give them the opportunity to respond correctly. This may take a few times, but they will eventually catch on and ask for other things! 

We understand that it can be exhausting to teach kids new skills and to repeat yourself  over and over…but the more you stay consistent and implement these techniques, the more you will begin to see your child’s response improve to your instructions. Stay positive and encourage enthusiastic reinforcement even in the toughest moments. You can do it!