Ask for your child’s attention.
Giving directions when your child isn’t focused on you could set both of you up for failure. Ask for your child’s attention by saying, “Look toward me, please. I need you to listen now.” Some kids have a difficult time with the nonverbal aspects of language. Asking your child to look toward you, instead of looking you in the eye, takes that into account. You can make it easier by moving into your child’s line of sight.
Once you have your child’s attention, you want to keep it. It can be hard for him to hear and follow directions while he’s playing video games or when the TV is on in the background. Minimize any distractions before giving directions. Turn off the TV. Ask your child to put down his game or book. Make sure he’s looking toward you.
You can model this behavior by giving your child your full attention when giving instructions. That also shows your child what you’re saying is important.
It may be tempting to speak louder or speak over your child when there is something you need to say or get done. But you may capture his attention better by speaking in a softer voice. Give directions in a calm, even tone. Your child may be able to focus more easily on the substance of what you have to say when he doesn’t have to process the tone and the volume, too.