It is the goal of most parents to raise happy, cooperative children. Cooperative kids are a pleasure to be around and typically enjoy both social and academic success. Although some children seem to be born with an easy-going nature while others may be a bit more challenging, virtually all children will benefit from consistent parental guidance.
It sounds simple, but one of the most important things that a parent can do is to give their children plenty of attention. In todays busy world, parents often feel pulled in several directions at once, but making the time to focus on their kids needs to be a big priority. Kids who get plenty of positive reinforcement from their parents tend to be well behaved and cooperative. Those who do not will still find a way to get their parents’ attention — by misbehaving and displaying a poor attitude.
Have Reasonable Expectations
Since toddlers will not understand your expectations as well as a school aged child or teenager, it is reasonable to expect that younger children will not display consistently cooperative behaviour. If you start teaching your children to be helpful and obliging when they are young, however, as the years go by you will be rewarded with a child who is respectful and cooperative.
Be Firm, but Kind
It can be tempting to let small misdeeds slide, but consistency is key when it comes to discipline. If you stay on top of your children’s behaviour rather than waiting until they’ve been misbehaving for some time, you have a much better chance of building good habits. Establish household rules and be sure that all family members, even the youngest, are expected to contribute in some way to making things run smoothly. Young kids can learn to pick up their toys and help with simple household chores, such as folding washcloths. By teaching your kids that they have responsibilities when they are young, they will come to view this as normal and will not balk at the idea of cooperatively helping out as they get older.
Praise your children when they are cooperative and behaving in an appropriate manner. By letting them know that you notice and appreciate their good behaviour, you will minimize the times that they learn by trial and error. Children are not born aware of your expectations, you must teach them by gently, but firmly enforcing the household rules.
Your Attitude Matters
Children are very impressionable and will learn most of their behaviours and attitudes at home. Because of this, it is vital that you are a good role model. Be sure that you complete your own household chores without complaint and that your children see you willingly helping others. When you talk about your job, try to do so in a positive way. If your children are accustomed to listening to you grumble about your responsibilities, they will likely take on a similar attitude towards theirs. Behaviours, both good and bad, are reflective of a person’s attitude. In order to raise cooperative kids, let them see you as a person who sees responsibility as a normal part of life. They will follow your example.