Parent coaching focus: How to help your child learn to cooperate
To get our young children and toddlers to cooperate, we need to help them understand how our requests and rules are good for everyone.
Cooperation is the ability to balance one’s own needs with someone else’s. We often think of cooperation as children doing what adults want. That is compliance. True cooperation means a joint effort—a give and take that is mutually satisfying. To develop a cooperative spirit in children, we need to help them understand how our requests and rules are good for everyone.
How to go about?
Between 6 and 9 months, babies can begin to engage in back-and-forth interactions. They also learn to imitate. Give your child time to copy you.
Explain your reasons for limits and requests
At three years old, most children use and understand language well enough to handle simple explanations.
Take time to problem-solve
You can help your older two- and three-year-olds come up with solutions to everyday dilemmas and encourage cooperation at the same time.
Do chores together starting at an early age
Let your child grow up experiencing the benefits of cooperation.
Give specific praise for cooperative efforts
Point out why and how their contribution was important.
Give your child choices while maintaining the rules
Offering choices shows your child respect, and respect creates a sense of collaboration.