Sept. 29, 2021

Getting Kids To Cooperate

Getting kids to cooperate is a challenge at all ages and stages. Here’s how to know when little kids are old enough to kick in, how "connecting before directing" works for older kids, and whether "whistling while they work" might be too much to ask.


Getting kids to cooperate is a challenge at all ages and stages. Here’s how to know when little kids are old enough to kick in, how "connecting before directing" works for older kids, and whether "whistling while they work" might be too much to ask.

How do we get kids to cooperate? Our listener Alison asked:

I would love some insight into engaging the cooperation of my two boys, 5 and almost 3 years old. At what age Is it reasonable to expect them to put away their toys, stay seated for meals, get in the bath without mind games, and get ready for bed in less than 60 minutes? They are capable, but rarely willing, and 8 out of 10 times it's an ordeal. We have routines, we announce transitions in advance, we give them choices and even try to make it fun, but I feel like I am either haranguing them constantly or seething with resentment or both. Do I just accept this is the season of my life? Is cooperation 2 out of 10 times a victory? 

Getting kids who are younger than three to "do their share" without a lot of coaxing and singing and clapping is pretty tough. Then when they're about six, kids' "fairness radar" kicks in, and they're much less focused on loading the dishwasher than on complaining about who is not currently helping. 

So there are roadblocks to kids' cooperation, to be sure, and in this episode we discuss:

  • whether "whistling while they work" might be too much to ask
  • how "connecting before directing" works for older kids
  • how we can model cooperation and hope our kids get the hint. (It's worth a shot.)

 

We mention our interview with Michaeleen Doucleff in this episode– you can hear that episode here: https://www.whatfreshhellpodcast.com/fresh-take-michaeleen-doucleff-on-raising-happy-helpful-little-humans/

Here are links to some other writing and books that we discuss in this episode:

Cameron Kleimo for Motherly: How to get your kids to listen—without yelling

Shelley Phillips for Lifehack: 6 Secrets to Getting Kids to Cooperate

scholastic.com: Ages & Stages: Learning to Cooperate

Terry Orlick: Cooperative Games and Sports 

Frank McCourt: Angela's Ashes

Lemony Snicket: A Series of Unfortunate Events

 

Special thanks to this month's sponsors:

Betterhelp Start taking charge of your mental health– no matter where you live! Go to betterhelp.com/fresh to get 10% off your first month of counseling.

Prose is the healthy hair regimen with your name all over it! Get 15% off your first order today! Go to prose.com/laughing

KiwiCo projects make science, technology, engineering, art, and math super fun– and best of all, kids of all ages can work on them independently! Get your first month FREE on select crates at kiwico.com/motherhood.

Green Chef’s expert chefs design flavorful recipes that go way beyond the ordinary. Go to greenchef.com/laughing100 and use code laughing100 to get $100 off including free shipping!

Happy Dance skin care products are made with premium ingredients, including the highest quality CBD. Get 15% off your first Happy Dance order by going to doahappydance.com/laughing

Helix customized mattresses will give you the best sleep of your life! Get up to $200 off all mattress orders, plus two free pillows, at helixSleep.com/laughing.

The Cozi Family Organizer is for anyone juggling camp schedules, practices, meetings, doctor’s appointments, and maybe a date night once in a while. Download Cozi for free from the app store!

Magic Spoon cereal gets protein into your kids’ breakfast- and with 0 grams of sugar. Go to magicspoon.com/FRESH and use the code FRESH at checkout to get $5 off!

Jane.com is a boutique marketplace featuring the latest in women’s fashion, accessories, home decor, children’s clothing, and more. You will not believe the prices! Visit jane.com/laughing.

 

Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices