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Parenting Hack: 5 Tips for Getting Kids to Cooperate

Published Feb 26, 2019 | Updated Feb 19, 2020

Most parents would agree that getting their kids to cooperate can sometimes be a challenge. Through research, trial and error, and even some professional resources I have navigated my way through some of these challenges that I have encountered with my daughter. I hope the following tips for encouraging your kids to cooperate help you as much as they have helped us.

The tips and secrets below are all very helpful strategies for getting your kids to listen and work better with you. Each child and situation is different so it is always a good idea to adjust accordingly to their specific needs and situation. Like most things, many of these strategies and ideas will take some getting used to and maybe a few tries to perfect. Stick with it and don't give up!

1. Make Sure They Aren't Hungry or Tired

Most of the issues that I have encountered with my 5 year old not listening or becoming emotional are related to having low blood sugar and a simple snack can make her mood take a 180 degree turn for the better!

Also, for some reason kids just don't know when to call it a night! It has proven very effective for me to get my kid in bed early at a consistent time every night (7:30 works for us). Then we are able to get up at 7am on school days and she is more well rested therefore in a better head space.

It is important to remember as well that the long day at school plus all the activities and lessons after school can add up and take a toll, especially for younger kids. Try not to overdo it!

2. Make a Game of It

I find that turning not so fun activities like teeth brushing and bath-time into a game can make things run more smoothly and easily. At our house we do a lot of acting and role-playing as cats because that is my daughters obsession, but you could tailor your game to suit whatever your child is most interested in - superheros, race cars, princesses...you name it!

3. Set Up a Rewards System

It can be very effective to get your kids feeling like they are in charge through positive reinforcement. After all it can be challenging for young ones who don't get to make a lot of their own decisions to want to follow more rules that often aren't a ton of fun.

I find that adding a chore chart with special stickers that my daughter can add when completing cooperative tasks such as brushing teeth on time and getting ready for school and out the door with no hassle can be quite motivating for her. Especially when there is a reward of a fun activity such as going to a movie or Playzone at the end of a fully completed chart.

4. Offer Alternatives and Cooperate With Your Child

Kids hear "no" a lot and don't feel like they have a lot of control over their lives most of the time. They have to go to school, do extracurricular activities, and are constantly being told what to do without having the same level of adult understanding as parents and caregivers.

By cooperating with your child, this will enable them to feel a degree of control which can help with their behavior. For example, if your child is having a tantrum, offering a distraction like asking them for help coloring or letting them pick a fun play place to visit can be enough to get them feeling like they have some say.

I also use the tactic of letting my daughter decide if she wants to drain the bathtub or if she would like me to unplug the drain for her when its time to get out of the bath if she is resistant to getting out. This allows for her to have a say in the outcome but still cooperating with my request.

5. Explain the Reasoning Behind Rules

I find that giving an explanation for why I set rules can help bring a calmer energy and offer a common ground of understanding between me and my daughter.

I often explain how it is my job to keep her safe and that running off ahead can be dangerous. If I can't see her she could get lost or might not see cars coming.

Or if she is running and jumping around the house I explain that the neighbors below us don't appreciate loud thumping noises over their heads and I give her the alternative option to go outside for a walk where we can be noisier.

I hope these parenting hacks and tips that have worked for me and my family can also benefit yours. Remember that not much happens overnight and you will need to establish a routine and be consistent to get lasting benefits.

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