When you give your kids orders, you are doing the thinking instead of them. You are figuring out what to do and then passing along this information. When you do the thinking, the connections in your brain involved in this processing are reinforced. When your children do the thinking, their brain connections are strengthened.
Part of guiding your kids to thinking on their own is giving them opportunities to practice. Instead of giving orders, asking questions helps kids do their own thinking. Below are some examples of orders versus questions.
Order #1: Get your pajamas on and brush your teeth so you’re for a bedtime story.
Question #1: What do you need to do before you are ready for a story?
Order #2: Go get started on your homework.
Question #2: What is your plan for getting your homework done today?
Order #3: Your chore for today is vacuuming and I see it's still not done. It’s time for you to get that done.
Question #3: When will you be doing your chore for today?
Order #4: Rinse your plate and put it in the dishwasher.
Question #4: What needs to be done after you’re done eating dinner?
By asking questions, you encourage your kids to do more thinking. Giving orders is often such a natural response that you may not even notice you’re doing it. This week try paying special attention to when you are about to give an order and see if you can replace it with a question.