Teaching Your Toddler To Follow One-Step Directions (in Speech Therapy)

Teaching Your Toddler To Follow One-Step Directions (in Speech Therapy)

Updated on

Reviewed

Our articles are meticulously reviewed by qualified professionals specializing in child development, education, and health. Our reviewers ensure that our content is comprehensive, accurate, and reflects the most current, evidence-based research and best practices in the field. Before publication and during significant updates, our team rigorously evaluates each article to guarantee its relevance and usefulness for our audience. At Splashmate, we are dedicated to supporting the well-being and development of children, offering resources that parents and educators can depend on.

by
Tara Jones

Tara Jones is a renowned Child Development Professional with over 10 years of experience. Holding a Bachelor's degree in Child Psychology, Tara has made significant contributions as an early childhood educator and a respected writer in the field. She is known for her innovative teaching methods and has been instrumental in integrating play-based learning into child development practices. Tara's workshops and publications are highly sought after for their practical insights and evidence-based approach. As a recognized authority on child development, her work continues to shape educational practices and support healthy child growth.

Key points

  • Following one-step directions is a vital developmental milestone for toddlers.
  • It signifies language understanding, fostering engagement with the environment and paving the way for complex skills.
  • This skill enhances listening and attention, crucial for broader learning and social interactions.
  • In speech therapy, clear and simple language, gestures, and visual cues aid toddlers in comprehending and following instructions.
  • The therapy environment should minimize distractions and establish a consistent routine for a conducive learning experience.

On this page:

The Importance of Following One-Step Directions

Effective Strategies in Speech Therapy

Creating a Supportive Learning Environment

Practical Activities for Teaching One-Step Directions

Working with a Speech Therapist

Summary

 

 

As toddlers grow and develop, their ability to understand and follow directions becomes a crucial part of their learning journey. In the context of speech therapy, teaching toddlers to follow one-step directions is a fundamental skill that lays the groundwork for effective communication and cognitive development. This article explores strategies and techniques to effectively teach toddlers to follow one-step directions in a speech therapy setting.

The Importance of Following One-Step Directions

The Importance of Following One-Step Directions

Following one-step directions is a key developmental milestone for toddlers. It signifies not only the understanding of language but also the ability to process and respond to verbal cues.

Building Blocks of Communication

This skill is one of the building blocks of effective communication. It helps toddlers to start engaging with their environment in a meaningful way and forms the basis for more complex language and cognitive skills.

Enhancing Listening and Attention Skills

Following directions also improves a toddler’s listening and attention skills, which are essential for learning and social interactions.

Recommended Reading: How To Help A Child Learn to Follow Directions - Speech and Language Kids

Effective Strategies in Speech Therapy

Effective Strategies in Speech Therapy

When working with toddlers in a speech therapy context, specific strategies can be employed to enhance their ability to follow one-step directions.

Use of Clear and Simple Language

It's important to use language that is clear, simple, and age-appropriate. This helps the child to understand the instruction without being overwhelmed by complex phrases.

Incorporating Gestures and Visual Cues

Using gestures, visual aids, or demonstrations can make it easier for toddlers to comprehend and follow directions. For instance, pointing to an object while giving an instruction can provide a helpful visual cue.

Recommended Reading: 10 tips to help your child follow directions - Understood

Creating a Supportive Learning Environment

 

The environment in which speech therapy takes place plays a significant role in a toddler's learning process.

Minimizing Distractions

Ensure that the therapy setting is free from distractions that could divert the child’s attention away from the task at hand.

Establishing a Routine

Consistency and routine can make toddlers feel more secure and open to learning. Try to conduct speech therapy sessions at the same time and place, if possible.

Recommended Reading: Teaching your toddler simple one step instructions - Toddler Talk

Practical Activities for Teaching One-Step Directions

Engaging activities can make the process of learning to follow one-step directions enjoyable and effective.

Fun and Interactive Games

Use simple games that involve following one-step instructions, such as ‘Simon Says’ or ‘Touch Your Nose.’

Daily Routines as Learning Opportunities

Incorporate one-step directions into daily routines. For example, ask the child to ‘Give me the ball’ during playtime.

When Toddlers Struggle with Directions

Some toddlers may find it challenging to follow even simple directions. In such cases, additional support and patience are required.

Breaking Down Instructions

If a direction seems too complex, break it down into smaller, more manageable parts.

Positive Reinforcement

Celebrate successes, no matter how small. Positive reinforcement can boost a toddler's confidence and motivation.

Working with a Speech Therapist

Collaborating with a speech therapist can provide tailored guidance and strategies suited to your toddler’s specific needs.

Professional Assessment and Personalized Plans

A speech therapist can assess your toddler’s individual strengths and challenges and develop a personalized plan to enhance their ability to follow directions.

Continuous Monitoring and Adaptation

Regular sessions with a speech therapist allow for continuous monitoring of progress and adaptation of strategies as needed.

Recommended Reading: 6 activities for teaching a 3-year-old to follow instructions - Kindship

 

Summary

In summary, teaching toddlers to follow one-step directions in speech therapy requires a blend of clear communication, engaging activities, supportive environments, and patience. It's a crucial skill that lays the foundation for further language development and learning. With the right strategies and support, toddlers can effectively learn to understand and respond to one-step directions, paving the way for successful communication and cognitive development.

 

Back to blog

At Splashmate, we are dedicated to supporting the well-being and development of children, offering resources that parents and educators can depend on. Read more about our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. Robinson, L. R., Danielson, M. L., Claussen, A. H., Visser, S. N., Scott, K. G., Beckwith, L., Katz, L. F., Smith, D. C. (2019). The Legacy for Children™ Randomized Control Trial: Effects on Cognition Through Third Grade for Young Children Experiencing Poverty. Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, 40(4), 275–284. doi:10.1097/DBP.0000000000000655. Read the article
  2. Cree, R. A., Bitsko, R. H., Robinson, L. R., Holbrook, J. R., Danielson, M. L., Smith, C., Kaminski, J. W., Kenney, M. K., Peacock, G. (2018). Health Care, Family, and Community Factors Associated with Mental, Behavioral, and Developmental Disorders and Poverty among Children Aged 2–8 years — United States, 2016. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 67(5), 1377-1383. doi:10.15585/mmwr.mm6705a1. Read the article
  3. Sharapova, S. R., Phillips, E., Sirocco, K., Kaminski, J. W., Leeb, R. T., Rolle, I. (2018). Effects of Prenatal Marijuana Exposure on Neuropsychological Outcomes in Children Aged 1-11 Years: A Systematic Review. Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology, 32(6), 512-532. doi:10.1111/ppe.12514. Read the article
  4. Haarbauer-Krupa, J., Lee, A. H., Bitsko, R. H., Zhang, X., Kresnow-Sedacca, M. J. (2018). Prevalence of Parent-Reported Traumatic Brain Injury in Children and Associated Health Conditions. JAMA Pediatrics, 172(11), 1078-1086. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2018.2743. Read the article
  5. Hartwig, S. A., Robinson, L. R., Comeau, D. L., Claussen, A. H., Perou, R. (2017). Maternal Perceptions of Parenting Following an Evidence-based Parenting Program: A Qualitative Study of Legacy for Children™. Infant Mental Health Journal, 38(4), 499-513. doi:10.1002/imhj.21642. Read the article
  6. Morris, A. S., Robinson, L. R., Hays-Grudo, J., Claussen, A. H., Hartwig, S. A., Treat, A. E. (2017). Targeting Parenting in Early Childhood: A Public Health Approach to Improve Outcomes for Children Living in Poverty. Child Development, 88(2), 388–399. doi:10.1111/cdev.12743. Read the article
  7. Beasley, L. O., Silovsky, J. F., Espeleta, H. C., Robinson, L. R., Hartwig, S. A., Morris, A. S., Esparza, I. (2017). A Qualitative Study of Cultural Congruency of Legacy for Children™ for Spanish-speaking Mothers. Children and Youth Services Review, 79, 299-308. doi:10.1016/j.childyouth.2017.06.024. Read the article
  8. Holbrook, J. R., Bitsko, R. H., Danielson, M. L., Visser, S. N. (2017). Interpreting the Prevalence of Mental Disorders in Children: Tribulation and Triangulation. Health Promotion Practice, 18(1), 5-7. doi:10.1177/1524839916670873. Read the article
  9. Bitsko, R. H., Holbrook, J. R., Kaminski, J. W., Robinson, L. R., Ghandour, R. M., Smith, C., Peacock, G. (2016). Health-care, Family, and Community Factors associated with Mental, Behavioral, and Developmental Disorders in Early Childhood – United States, 2011-2012. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 65(9), 221–226. doi:10.15585/mmwr.ss6509a1. Read the article
  10. CDC. (2013). Mental Health Surveillance Among Children, United States 2005–2011. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 62(Suppl; May 16, 2013):1-35. Read the article
  11. Katsantonis, I., McLellan, R. (2023). The role of parent–child interactions in the association between mental health and prosocial behavior: Evidence from early childhood to late adolescence. International Journal of Behavioral Development. doi:10.1177/01650254231202444. Read the article
See Our Editorial Process
Meet Our Review Board
  • How to Make a Glitter Sensory Bottle for Toddlers

    How to Make a Glitter Sensory Bottle for Toddlers

    On this page: Benefits of Sensory Play for Toddlers Choosing Safe Materials for Your Sensory Bottle Step-by-Step Guide to Making a Glitter Sensory Bottle Further Readings   Creating a glitter...

    How to Make a Glitter Sensory Bottle for Toddlers

    On this page: Benefits of Sensory Play for Toddlers Choosing Safe Materials for Your Sensory Bottle Step-by-Step Guide to Making a Glitter Sensory Bottle Further Readings   Creating a glitter...

  • Sensory play

    Exploring Sensory Play: Creative Ideas for Babies

    On this page: Touch and Feel Boxes Homemade Edible Paint Water Play Sound Bottles Texture Balloons Further Readings   Sensory play is a fun and important part of a baby's...

    Exploring Sensory Play: Creative Ideas for Babies

    On this page: Touch and Feel Boxes Homemade Edible Paint Water Play Sound Bottles Texture Balloons Further Readings   Sensory play is a fun and important part of a baby's...

  • Dynamic Activities for 18-Month-Olds: Learning Through Play

    Dynamic Activities for 18-Month-Olds: Learning ...

    On this page: Sensory Bins: Exploring Textures and Shapes Musical Fun: Encouraging Rhythm and Movement Building Blocks: Enhancing Cognitive and Motor Skills Story Time: Fostering Language and Imagination Art and...

    Dynamic Activities for 18-Month-Olds: Learning ...

    On this page: Sensory Bins: Exploring Textures and Shapes Musical Fun: Encouraging Rhythm and Movement Building Blocks: Enhancing Cognitive and Motor Skills Story Time: Fostering Language and Imagination Art and...

1 of 3