Cooperation with a child is an everyday struggle for many of us. Parents often feel frustrated when they need their children to do something and they, instead of doing it, are playing deaf. It’s like you’re talking to a wall. Get dressed please, wash your hands, eat your food, tidy up your little trains please. And nothing is happening. You have 200 things on your to do list before you need to leave for work and school and they just won’t do a thing! You ask nicely, you ask nicely again, then again, then again not so nicely… Why they won’t cooperate? What am I doing wrong? Is it so difficult to put a shoes on? How old does my child need to be to be able to put on a pair of shoes?!
The answer is, I don’t know. I wish I had a magic wand to make them cooperate, I read books, I spent hours googling, I talked to other mums, I tried various “100% working” methods. All with no luck.
Now you’re waiting for that BUT that will reveal the big secret of cooperation with a child. So here I go…
BUT I noticed some pattern that I’m 100% sure applies to all kids. Children are often asked to do something. And more they know or more they can do, more commands (or nicely formulated requests for favours) they are getting. No wonder they’re becoming reluctant when you ask for something.
Life is about balance. Without a balance, nothing is right. Even with good things, if you over do it, it won’t be good for you any more. So all requests you’re addressing to your children need to be balanced. With what? With one thing that means most to them. YOU. Your full attention. There’s only one rule when it gets to the cooperation with a child: more time you spend with your child, more cooperative they’ll become.
…all requests you’re addressing to your children need to be balanced with your full attention.
One rule: more time you spend with your child, more cooperative they’ll become.
By “the time spent” I mean quality time. It won’t really make them do as you say, the moment you say it, when you only have 15 minutes to get ready and leave the house in the morning. But it helps in a long run. I promise.
Sit on the floor and build a railway for trains with your son. Join a teddy bear tea party with your daughter. Take them some place fun and enjoy it with them. Talk to them and listen to them. I know you’re doing all those things already but if you’re reading articles about cooperation you probably need to do it more often. Write it on your TO-DO list and make it the highest priority.
Increase cooperation with a child
For those of you who are technical types, imagine your child is a rechargeable battery. They need to charge with your love and attention in order to “work correctly.”
I’m not going to write here that you need to feed your toddler and put her down for a nap so her basic needs are satisfied and she will be happier to cooperate. Which parent is not doing it? More importantly, remember to fill your child with your love. It’s an energy for their personal growth and the best boost of cooperation. More they are in attention/orders balance, more cooperative they’ll become. The best treat for them is YOU.
…kids are like a rechargeable battery. They need to charge with your love and attention in order to “work correctly.”
Here are some quick tips that can help in some situations. Thanks to them you can spend time with your children and get them to do what you need them to do at the same time.
Turn it into a game
Whenever you can, make a game of what they need to do. If you’re enthusiastic about it, they will be too. Invite them to join the game and let them be if they don’t feel up for it.
Tell them a story
If they seem bored, start telling a story. Make up one and let the kids be a part of it. Let them imagine what happens next, what are the names of main characters, who meets who, where they’re going to go. It doesn’t even need to have a plot. Just talk about some exciting things characters are doing.
Put them in charge or give them a role to play
This point is pretty much like the point number one, except this one involves your managing skills as you need to delegate right tasks to right people. You know personalities of each of your children. Leader wants to be a leader. If you have more of them, make sure they’re equally important but on different fields. One will be in charge of tidying up the toys to make sure everyone is doing a good job and showing others what to do, the other one will make sure everyone is ready for dinner with their hands clean. Submissive child can be a zookeeper who finds all the missing animals (the ones that are lost all over the sitting room) and bring them back home into the animal’s toybox for their afternoon nap.