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child pouting
How to Encourage Cooperation in Your Kids

Kids have a mind of their own, and that seems most apparent after you've given them instruction. We've all been there at one point or another; melt-downs, back-talk, eye-rolling, forgetfulness, and slothfulness, these are the most common responses that parents receive from their kids. Day to day interactions with our kids can present challenges that we are not always ready for, causing stressful, not so warm and fuzzy moments.

child pouting

Helping kids learn the value of cooperation and having a plan to encourage it is one of the best things you can do to ensure growth in this area. The next time you have a challenge in getting your child to follow instructions consider the following:

Asking Instead of Telling

No, we are not talking about lowering your standards as a parent and begin begging your child to do what they’re supposed to do, but rather use a questioning strategy to get their cooperation in place of telling them directly. Asking while being kind and firm is more empowering than telling, because the exchange can be calm. Plus it encourages kids to take the initiative and helps them feel capable of doing what’s right. For example, if your child needs to clean his or her room, telling would go something like this, "This room is a mess! You need to clean it up right now!" See how aggressive the tone of that sounds? Now imagine how your child emotionally processes it. The energy we put out, we will reap in some form or another.  Now asking would present a non-aggressive approach that is more relatable. For example, "Wow, you must have really enjoyed yourself during playtime today! What do you think you can do about this?" See, no subservient attitudes needed here, just mutual trust and respect. Asking proactively creates a healthy atmosphere of encouragement that promotes a focus on solutions.

kids messing up their playroom by playing cooperation

Create Agreements by Involving Kids in the Solutions

Involving kids in the process of coming up with solutions creates agreements. Agreements promote a “buy in” from your child.  With agreements, everyone wins! When children are allowed to share their input, it helps them to feel capable by using their power in contributing ways. After all, isn’t this what every parent desires to see developed in their children as they mature into adults? Someone that is fully capable of knowing how to independently address and handle the challenges life may present. Another great reason for bringing children into the solution process is that it also helps to diminish the power struggles parents sometimes face and actually encourages cooperation.

Showing Empathy

Showing the child that you sincerely care and understand about how they feel by trying to see things from their perspective is a super effective parenting tool. This creates a transparent opportunity to share and connect with your child. Connection can open the lines for positive communication and correction, which will then encourage cooperation in your child. Children feel encouraged when they think you understand their point of view; this makes them more willing to listen to your point of view and they will be more willing to cooperate.

Having a system in place to help achieve your parenting goals is important. For a free lesson on teaching kids to value “Listening” visit

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