5 Tips for Fostering Kid Cooperation

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Nagging, threatening and bribing the kids may work every once in a while, but if you’re looking to foster a consistent flow of kid cooperation, try out these 5 nanny tested, mom approved tips.

1. Be clear. 

Children can only live up to your expectations if they can understand them. “Hands aren’t for hitting” is much more effective than “Stop it” when coaching a toddler to use his hands appropriately. When setting expectations, look your child in the eyes, keep your words simple and use a calm, but firm voice. 

2. Be consistent.

Consistent limits help children feel safe and secure. In fact, kids thrive when behavioral expectations are predictable. Mean what you say and say what you mean when it comes to guiding your children’s behavior and don’t underestimate the importance of following thorough. Having a set of clearly defined house rules, like “No biting, no hitting and no kicking,” and set consequences for breaking those rules can help assure that children are held to the same expectations regardless of who is in charge.

3. Give acceptable choices.

Instead of asking a child what they want for breakfast, ask “Do you want Cheerios or pancakes?” Giving a child two or three choices that you can live with will prevent struggles should the child ask for something you can’t or aren’t willing to deliver.  Giving acceptable choices also helps build a child’s self-esteem and encourages the development of good decision making skills.

4. Let kids do for themselves.

Allow children to do what they can do for themselves. While it may be tempting to zipper a child’s jacket or put on their shoes because it’s faster, allowing a child to do what they can do themselves builds self-esteem, minimizes power struggles and helps children feel more in control. When a child feels like they have control, they’re more likely to be cooperative. 

5. Pick your battles.

 While when it comes to safety there should be no compromises, sometimes a little compromise is what it takes to encourage kid cooperation. While walking across the street without holding an adults hand is not acceptable, wearing mismatched socks or a long sleeved shirt on a warm day may just be. Sometimes the natural consequences that result from making choices that aren’t ideal will foster cooperation the next time around.

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