It’s often occurred to me that teachers and parents could easily “capture” kids’ attention if they use a strategy employed by many businesses and other offices. Have you called a doctor’s office where they use an automated answering system? What’s the first (annoying) thing you hear? “Please listen carefully, for our menu options have recently changed.” In my experience, that is never true. The menu is the same, call after call. But I hang on, just in case.
To be equally annoying to your kids, you could say, “We’ve done this before, but listen carefully, for some directions have changed.” OK, that’s just mean, but varying the way you give directions could be novel without being annoying. While predictable routines are usually beneficial to a lot of kids, predictable directions may lull them to sleep. What about trying this? “Don’t follow the next direction I give you. Line up.” It’s a variation on Simon Says. And half your group will be charging for the door. You’ll have everyone’s attention and some fun if they have to hear, “Mrs. Teachezwell says…” before responding. Try it for half an hour and you’ll discover that the kids are reminding YOU to give them a listening prompt. Enjoy!