Abstract illustrations of a small hand in the palm of a big hand, and a mother and her son

Early Childhood Education: 8 Ways To Get Your Child To Cooperate, Willingly And Happily

If you’ve ever had the chance to (secretly) watch how your child behaves in class, do you ever wondered why they’re little angels at school but get up to mischief at home? Well, you’re not alone and lucky for you, here are 8 tips from experienced elementary school teachers to help you win cooperation from your child.

A compliment goes a long way

Kids repeat behaviors that get positive attention. So, try to catch them being good. Praise their good behavior and tell them exactly what you liked. At first, you can praise every time you see good behaviors. When you child starts doing these behaviors more often, you can praise it less, and eventually it will become part of their nature. If you’re using praise to change behavior, you can praise effort as well as achievement. For example, ‘It’s great how you let the younger kids get on the school bus first this morning’. 

Nurture good habits and routines 

Train your kids to know what is expected of them – this will eventually win you their cooperation. Set “house rules” – get dressed before breakfast, wash hands after coming in from outside, and so on – and at the beginning, guide your kids to follow these rules, and soon enough they will keep to this routine without any reminding. 

Don’t get too serious

Have a hard time to get your kid to take a bath before bed? Why not inject some humour and turn it into a game? For example, play the ‘Save the Yellow Rubber Duckies” game, where they have to find all the rubber ducks under the bubbles in the bathtub (in the meantime, you can help them wash themselves!). Don’t get caught in the heat of the moment and get frustrated at your kid, instead, turn it into a chance to cultivate essential skills. 

Make smooth transitions

When was the last time you announced that it was time to shut off the TV or stop playing to eat dinner, and your kid threw a fit? It was probably last night or maybe just minutes ago… It’s important to give enough advance notice before your kid have a make transition from one activity to another. Let them know when transitions are coming so they have time to finish whatever they’re doing. For example, if you need to leave the house at 8:30 a.m. for school, warn your child at 8:15 that they have five more minutes to play, then will have to stop to put away their toys.

If your kid haven’t learned how to tell time, use an analog clock. 

Offer structured choices

First, don’t give your child too many choices. Then, make sure out of the few choices (two is optimal) that you do give them, that it’s plain and simple which is the right choice and which is the wrong choice. For example, if they refuse to leave their toy in the playroom and want to bring it to the dinner table, then offer the choice of eating dinner without their toy and getting dessert or brining their toy but missing out on a sweet treat. Soon enough, your child will learn which is the better choice and that the wrong choice will never get them what they want. 

Avoid if’s

Using ‘if’ in your request might seem polite, but in fact, your child might interpret it as having the option to disobey and say ‘no’. So, instead of saying, “If you put all the Legos back into the box, we can have ice cream.,” say “When you’re done putting all the Legos back into the box, we will have ice cream.” 

Music does the trick

Is cleanup one of your biggest headaches? Well, try a “cleanup song”! Ask your child, “Can you put your toys back into the drawers before Raffi finishes singing ‘Baby Beluga’?” Playing music while your child completes a task not only adds fun, but it also gives them a sense of time. 

Develop your child’s independence

It’s tempting to intervene ‘tiny human beings’ arguing over possession of plastic toys and sandbox territories, but in this case they’re not hitting each other, stand back and let them work it out. You won’t always be there to save your child. They need to learn (and will learn!) through doing. 

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