Clarification is Key

Five Tips to Help Children Complete Tasks Successfully

Clarification is key when assigning a task. Clarifying and communicating the expected result aids in the successful completion of tasks, and promotes satisfaction for all involved.

  1. Clarify to yourself what would be a satisfactory result for the assigned task. Determine and confirm that what you are about to assign to the child is realistic, achievable and age appropriate. Keep in mind that what often is good enough for one person is unacceptable to another and children’s standards are often very different than adults.
  2. State the task and your expected results. Creating a visual reference book that includes photos of the process and finished result, including the steps needed to complete the task, can help make clear to the child exactly what is expected of him/her. Simplify the task by keeping steps to a minimum.
  3. Spell out any guidelines required and state them clearly and positively using instructions with the word “Do” instead of “Do not.” Keep your rules to a minimum of 5; they are easier for a child to remember.
  4. State consequences clearly to the child. Offer positive preferred consequences anticipating compliance to your rules and completion of the task. Also, spell out non‐preferred consequences that will be put in place if your rules are not adhered to.
  5. Be sure to acknowledge the child when your rules have been followed and completion of the task meets your expectations. Give clear verbal feedback, highlighting the positives as much as possible.

© NJCIE, 2012

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