15 Easy Things Parents Can Do To Increase Kid Cooperation


dishesGetting kids to listen is a difficult thing to do, but increasing cooperation from kids can make a more enjoyable home environment for everyone involved.

These tips can help you put your kids on a path to cooperation, reducing disputes and hard feelings.

  1. Avoid Manipulation – Manipulating your child is never the way to get lasting results. It’ll just teach them the art of manipulation, and it may raise some resentment issues in the future. Instead of manipulating them to get them to do what you want, try asking them what they want to do and working out a solution that benefits everyone.
  2. Practice Taking Turns – Teaching your child to take turns can create a working cooperation. This works easiest when there is more than one child in the household. Do not favor one child over the other, or you will have a rebellion on your hands. Make sure that whatever your children are doing, they are taking turns with it, whether it be using their favorite color crayon, playing with dolls or simply watching TV.
  3. Teach Through Storytelling – You’re probably thinking, how will telling stories get my kid to cooperate? It’s quite simple: tell them stories about kids cooperating. Kids love to hear stories and they may not understand right away that they are learning something, but eventually it will catch on. You could subtly remind them with things like, “Remember the story about Suzy? She helped bake cookies and then helped clean up. Will you do that with me?”
  4. Just Listen – Being a good listener is important in all situations, but it’s very important for a parent to listen to a child. If your little one has a problem with something, simply ask him what it is and really listen to what he has to say. You might be surprised at the good points kids can bring up when they know they are actually being heard.
  5. Play Games – Games are always great tools for learning. You can either create your own games or find ones that are available that are geared toward cooperation. Having trouble thinking of some? Any board game teaches cooperation because each player has to take a turn and cannot skip someone else.
  6. Practice Reinforcement – Positive reinforcement is a way to get kids to cooperate in that they will realize they are being rewarded for good behavior. Eventually, they won’t need to be rewarded as often because they will just automatically act the way you want them to. Keep in mind that reward does not always mean a material thing. A reward can be a simple “thank you.”
  7. Reverse Roles – Take the chance and reverse roles with your child. Tell them they get to be the parent for the next ten minutes while you get to be the child. Act like your child was behaving and see how they handle the situation. It may just change their mind the next time they decided to go against the rules you’ve established.
  8. Work on Sharing Skills – While sharing is similar to taking turns, it’s not quite the same. Sharing involves giving something of your own to someone else and trusting that he will eventually give it back. Kids should learn sharing at a young age. Make sure they understand it’s not a hostile takeover, but just someone borrowing something for a little while.
  9. Model the Behavior You Want to See – Kids watch and learn from everything going on around them. Mostly, they look to you for examples of how to react in a given situation. If you model the behavior you’d like them to adopt, your children will naturally start to fall in line. Keep in mind that this needs to be practiced in all areas, not just at home. If you follow a guideline out in public too, such as standing patiently in line or being courteous to the cashier at the checkout, your children will soon catch on.
  10. Provide Choices – Everyone likes choices. If you tell someone you are doing this and there are no other options, she will either laugh in your face or leave. Without being given a choice, your children might feel like they are trapped and will act out accordingly.
  11. Make a Chore List – Don’t do all the housework yourself! Your kids need to learn that chores are part of everyday living. Working together to maintain the household also helps your child learn to cooperate naturally.
  12. Ask Your Child to Solve An Issue – If there is a situation going on that is out of control and your child will not listen to what you have to say, give them a scenario with a similar situation and ask them to solve the problem for that child. It will teach them problem solving skills while reinforcing the behavior they already know is right.
  13. Set Expectations – Set high expectations for your kids and they will feed off that need to make you proud. No kid likes disappointing his parents, but not all parents set the bar high enough to challenge their child. If you set the bar high, they will reach as far as they can to achieve it.
  14. Make Kids Feel Needed – Sometimes kids act out because they want attention. Be sure you’re giving your kids as much time and attention as they need. True, life gets busy and you have a lot to do during the day, but get your kids involved! Have them help you out. The feeling of being needed is a very strong motivator.
  15. Compromise – If the situation warrants it, consider a compromise with your child. If she doesn’t want to clean up her room right now, give her an alternative option or tell her she can have something, such as playing a video game, once they are done with the chore. It’s all about give and take.

As they say, pick your battles. Not all arguments will be settled with these tips, but you’ll learn along with your child which methods work and which don’t. But, with hard work and dedication, you will soon have a cooperative young child at your side.

Thanks to Lynda Albertson


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