How can you get your kids to cooperate and do the many things they must do from morning until bedtime? Here are some tips for a happier household.
Don’t hint at the tasks you would like done, such as, “It would be nice if somebody helped me clean up.” Don’t make it sound as if agreement is optional by starting your sentence with “Could you” or “Would you?” or ending your sentence with, “. . . Okay?” Make your request clear, short and on point, “Please put your dishes in the sink and wash the table.” or “It’s time to gather your homework and come to the table.” Make sure that your statement is clear and that it will identify what is needed or describe the problem without a lecture.
A great approach to use is “When/Then.” This lets your child know the order of his priorities. It’s clear and more pleasing: “When you have finished your homework, then you may play your new computer game.” This also makes your requests more positive and encouraging.
Give more choices:
Letting your child choose between two things (both of which you approve of!) can engage cooperation and avoid resistance, “Would you like to sweep the floor or dry the dishes?” You can also use an order choice, such as, “What would you like to do first, put on your pajamas or brush your teeth?” Your child will be doing his tasks with a smile!
Adding some silliness to your day can diffuse tension and get your child to cooperate eagerly. Smiles and humor will help you feel better about your day and it can also keep your viewpoint. Many issues can be handled in a lighthearted and cheerful way, with better results.
Try not to let your emotions overcome the situation. Don’t yell, threaten, criticize or belittle. Instead, ask yourself a question, “What is the problem?” Then, make a statement of fact, such as, “There are dirty dishes and snack wrappers in the TV room.” Then be silent. It’s amazing that kids will know exactly what you’re thinking.
Playing to Win: Cooperation Games
Children see life as one big game – so why not take advantage of that? Almost any task can be turned into a game with very little struggle. Compare these:
Serious: “Pick up your toys now and put them in the toy box.”
Game: “I bet I can pick up all the blue cars before you pick up the red ones! Ready, Go!”
Serious: “Put your pajamas on – now!”
Game: “I’m going to set the timer for ten minutes. I wonder if you can beat the bell and get your pajamas on before it rings?”
Sing a Song
Putting anything to music will make you easier to listen to, and fun, even if you can’t or even carry a tune. You can wash your child’s hands while singing “This is the way we wash our hands, wash our hands, wash our hands!”
Use knowledge and skills:
Raising children is a complex job. There are times when every parent and caregiver can use some help. There are many books available to parents to help get through the day-to-day issues. Every child and every parent is different. Because of this, there are no cookie-cutter solutions that will work for everyone. I suggest that you review all the solutions you discover and take a few quiet minutes to think about them. Modify the suggestions to best suit your family, and don’t be afraid to try out more than one until you discover your best answer.
Read The No-Cry Discipline Solution for more ideas & inspiration.