6 Ways to Get Your Child to Cooperate

Frustrated when your child just doesn't want to cooperate? Mighty Mommy has six surefire tips that will have your stubborn cherub cooperating in no time.

Cheryl Butler
7-minute read
Episode #349

Tip #4:  Keep it Simple

Kids need concise expectations.  If you want to grab and keep their attention, you need to communicate exactly what they can or can’t do in simple terms that they understand. For example, "You need to get down off the bed," rather than, "Don't jump on the bed." I’ve found that if you get into a dissertation about how upset you are that she’s jumping on the bed and could fall and hurt herself and then not be able to go visit Grandma that afternoon and that she’s ruining the furniture and so on and so on the more opposition you will face. Keep your request simple and maintain a calm but firm voice when doing so and you’ll start to see some positive results.

Tip #5: Take Advantage of the Positives

I’ve always been a firm believer in emphasizing as many positives you see your child doing as possible. We all love praise and validation for a job well done, but it seems to be human nature that we call attention to the negatives rather than taking the time to comment and  notice what’s going well.  The next time you see your child doing something that you can praise—take the time to let him know. “It’s really great that you got your backpack ready for school all by yourself!” or, “I love how you listened to my directions the first time.” When your child feels good about what he or she is doing, the more apt he/she will be to comply when you need their cooperation. And you know what—your child will learn to do this himself with others. Last weekend one of my college kids was home and commented that he feels good going to a restaurant with his family because we say things, “May I please have a chicken wrap” rather than “Give me that chicken wrap sandwich.” I loved hearing one of my kids praise me for being raised with good manners.  It’s a win/win all the way around.  See Also:  5 Ways to be a More Patient Parent

Tip # 6: Lead by Example

There are many requests that we make of our kids that we as parents may not be doing so well with ourselves. For instance, if you’re tired of your daughter keeping her room a mess how can you expect her to cooperate and take you seriously when you have dozens of outfits from your own closet strewn around your own bedroom? (Used to be a very bad habit of mine!) If you want your child to adhere to certain rules and values, you need to set the example yourself. 

How do you encourage cooperation with your kids?  Check back next week for more Mighty Mommy tips. If you have a question or a suggestion for a future Mighty Mommy episode, please e-mail me at mommy@quickanddirtytips.com.   

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Photo courtesy of Phillipe Put/Flickr.


All content here is for informational purposes only. This content does not replace the professional judgment of your own mental health provider. Please consult a licensed mental health professional for all individual questions and issues.

About the Author

Cheryl Butler Project Parenthood

Cheryl L. Butler was the host of the Mighty Mommy podcast for nine years from 2012 to 2021. She is the mother of eight children. Her experiences with infertility, adoption, seven pregnancies, and raising children with developmental delays have helped her become a resource on the joys and challenges of parenting. You can reach her by email.