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Parents Corner

Helping Your Child Become Cooperative

Written by: Julie Loe, B.S., PTA, Director of Pediatric Services

Children want to be cooperative, although sometimes it is difficult for parents to see it that way.

They do not operate with the intent to be disruptive. But, children will learn very quickly to be disruptive if it gets them what they want.

A cooperative spirit or climate gets more cooperation. So, here are some ways to build cooperation into your daily routine.

1. Listen to children. You will learn many valuable things about how they think and feel.

2. If discipline is necessary, be sure that the child understands clearly why. Be calm yourself. Have the "punishment fit the crime". When the situation has been dealt with, IT IS OVER. Do not refer to past misdeeds.

3. Be CONSISTENT in your requirements. Be appreciative of efforts in the direction of progress.

4. In cases where a choice is not involved, have a positive tone to your voice but be clear, concise and firm. Give choice only when you really mean for there to be a choice.

5. In cases where there is a choice also show this by your tone. Attempt to build in choice wherever possible, such as in routine activities, "would you like to get a drink of water or go to the toilet first on the way to bed?"

6. When speaking to your child, stoop down, sit on a low chair so as to bring your face to eye level with theirs.

7. Offer to lend a helping hand to a child who is clearly struggling, but is not discouraged or lost interest. The timing of a suggestion may be every bit as important as the suggestion itself. Do not do the task for them.

8. Respect the child who says they do not want your help at that time. Encourage her to work out problems on her own whenever possible but be available to help should the child choose that option now or later.

9. Give all directions clearly and simply. Have a clear idea in your mind what you wish to accomplish before you speak to your child about it. Use a positive approach.

10. Use words and a tone of voice that will make her feel confident and accepted.

11. Never interrupt a child's play unnecessarily. When it is necessary, give her time to prepare, have an inward conviction that she will obey.

12. Try not to introduce competition or make comparisons between your child and another.

For questions, comments or additional information on this topic, send a feedback note or fax (805) 771-9538.

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Last modified: January 26, 2013