Teach Young Children to Listen

It can be tough for young children to listen to what we’re saying and follow directions, but the success of your homeschool depends on being able to motivate your children to learn with you. 

Teaching your children to listen to your voice and follow your directions might seem overwhelming, but incorporating fun games and inspiring stories makes the process much more joyful. 

Here are five games to play with your children to help them learn to follow directions.

Follow the Leader

You stand in front, with your children lined up behind you, and they have to do whatever you do. You could quack like a duck, howl like a wolf, or bounce like a kangaroo. And your child will happily copy you!

This game will help your child learn to focus on you and follow what you are doing. As you play, begin to transition into Peaceful Press Chore and Routine activities such as making the bed, unloading the dishwasher, or dusting furniture. 

 Simon Says

Simon Says teaches children not just to listen, but to listen carefully. The parent (Simon) calls out directions, and the children have to follow them exactly. You might say, “Simon says, hop on one foot,” or “Simon says, spin around with a smile on your face.” If a child fails to follow the directions, they have to sit out.

When you don’t say “Simon Says” before giving a direction, your child isn’t supposed to do anything. This is the tricky part and is usually doable for kids who are three years or older. Start simple and then make the directions more and more complicated. You can transition this game into school activities like this- "Simon says read this word", or "Simon says count by 5's.

Red Light, Green Light

Red light means stop. Green light means go. You stand at one end of the room, and your kids will stand at the other. When you yell, “Green light!” they run toward you. When you yell, “Red light!” they have to stop immediately.

You can mix up the directions to keep them on their toes, for example, say “Red light!” twice in a row. If someone moves on a red light, they have to go back to the beginning. This will help your kids go from hearing common directions to actually doing them quickly. Just for fun, you can add "Purple light-dance".

You can transition from this game directly into real-life situations. For example, say "Red Light when you want your child to stop and wait for you.

 Mother, May I?

This game helps your child listen and respond with an affirmative. Stand at one end of the room and your kids at the other. You say, "take two steps forward" but before they move, they have to say, "mother, may I". If they forget to ask, they have to go backwards one step. You can incorporate school directions, chores, etc, to help transition your children into good listeners.

Land and Sea

Lay down a rope or painters tape on your floor, long enough for your children to put their toes on the line in a row. One side is land. The other side is seaYour children not only have to remember which side is whichbut they have to jump to whichever side you call. While there are only two directions, you can mix things up by calling the same direction twice, or by getting fast and faster. It will help your child learn to recognize simple, common directions, and carry them out as quickly as possible. If someone jumps to the wrong side, they are out.


Reading stories where children respond quickly to their parents also helps with teaching children to listen, and our Peaceful Press booklist includes many such stories. 

Books like Ping, Little House on the Prairie, Little Britches, and the Endurance focus on the virtue of following directions and when you homeschool with The Peaceful Press, your efforts to teach these character qualities to your children will be constantly reinforced.

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