Creative Child

The Ultimate Guide to Getting Your Child to Listen

and Cooperate!
by Rebecca Eanes

Life would be so much smoother if our children would just cooperate, wouldn’t it? If they’d just listen to us about bedtime, mealtime, chores, etc., and happily comply with our requests, we’d all get along just fine. After all, how hard can it be to eat your vegetables, pick up your toys, brush your teeth, and go to bed? Right?

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Unfortunately, the common ways in which we try to force cooperation, such as punishment (or the threat of punishment), nagging, and yelling, actually drive our kids further from wanting to cooperate. Which is why it seems like the more we yell and nag, the more we have to yell and nag.

And while nothing is going to guarantee 100% compliance, there are some things you can do that will greatly increase the likelihood that your child will listen more and want to cooperate with you.

I call these the 3 C’s of cooperation:

1. Connection:

Our relationship with our children is the secret to cooperation. It’s what gives them a desire to please us. Children who feel securely attached are more likely to cooperate simply because they feel close to us. They respect us, look up to us, and want to please us out of that genuine love and respect they feel. I write a lot about connection as I believe it is the single most important key to parenting. If you want to raise cooperation levels, raise your connection levels!

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More of my articles on connection:

10 Ways to Connect with Your Child

Connection-Based Discipline

Creating Connection Through Correction

50 Ways to Love a Child

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2. Consistency:

There is a calm but firm way to enforce your limits and follow through with your requests. This is not the same as threatening, but rather it is simply taking leadership action. Here are 3 positive follow through options to try:

Positive Follow Through Option 1:

For very young children, I recommend you gently guide them to the toys and point to the mess and then to the bins. This simple directive is easy for young tots to understand.

Stay close and ensure the task is complete, and then thank them! Say phrases like “I appreciate you putting your toys away." or "That was so helpful. Thank you!”

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