Being deliberate and present with our children is a wonderful way to encourage cooperation.
I have been thinking and reflecting a lot about being deliberate and present with my children. Even just a few weeks ago, I wasn’t focusing on this very well…my distraction was translating into disconnection.
Lack of connection with my children lead directly to a terrible string of using disconnected consequences and nagging. There was also a bit of yelling and even one big “I hate you MOM!” moment that woke up me! Having awareness of how I fell off track has helped me stop, refocus, and get back to more peaceful, encouraging interactions.
The effort has been so worth it…
As I was reading a book, my 6 year old son tapped me on the arm.
“Hey mom! How is your book?” he asked.
“Great.” I said. “And I can put it down and play a game with you if you would like!”
“Yes! Awesome! Thank you! cool…can we play UNO?” was his reply.
So we played 3 rounds of UNO. We giggled. We laughed. We negotiated funny rules. We laughed more.
Soon enough he ran off to play in his room and I went back to reading my book.
Fast forward about two hours and I walked by his room with some cleaning supplies.
“Hey mom, what are you doing?” he asked.
“Cleaning the living room” I said.
“I can put this away and help you.” He offered.
He offered to help. I had to let it sink in for a moment. My son not only offered to help, he got up immediately, put his toys on the desk and walked with me to the living room.
“I’ll dust over here mom.” he said and we cleaned the living room together.
Not now. In a minute. I can’t right now, I’m busy.
How often do we say things like this to our children when they make a request? How often do we just want our child to understand that we are busy with something very, very important?
Do you ever feel annoyed when you ask for a few minutes to finish something but your child whines for attention or simply can’t wait without interrupting?
Offering Our Children What We Expect & Speaking with Respect Can Be a Game Changer!
What happens when we ask our children to help with chores or do us a favor and they tell us…not now, in a minute..I”m busy? Does it ever frustrate you that you must ask two, three, ten times? Do you threaten, nag, yell? ( I know I wish I didn’t, but I sometimes I do…)
Why is it that we assume that our children should work on our schedule, respect our time table but we often forget to return the courtesy of attending to their requests? Or even just anticipating that they might need and enjoy some extra time to finish what they are busy with?
Modeling respectful communication can bring so many wonderful benefits to the whole family.
It’s a sign of great respect to ourselves and to our children to attend to the needs of the whole family. This is particularly applicable when we want to interrupt our child’s play and are expecting cooperation. By noticing what your child needs and deliberately focusing on how you can work together, you directly increase the chances of your child wanting to cooperate with you.
Respectful requests might sound like:
- “I’d appreciate your help for five minutes in the kitchen, after that you can get back to what you are working on.”
- “I notice you are playing, I need to interrupt you so we can leave. How about two minutes more so you can finish up?”
- “I’m busy right now, but I am super happy to play with you in about 10 minutes. You can set a timer and come and get me then!”
If we want cooperation from our children, we need to be present, connected and deliberate as often as possible. True cooperation, without nagging and yelling really can happen. Especially if we care about sharing and respecting the needs of the whole family.
Focus on building connection, spending time together, being present and showing your child you care about them. Then finding a way to work together, even on tasks like cleaning up and getting ready for bed will be so much easier. Not effortless, but certainly easier.
So tell me, do you have any big challenges with getting your child to cooperate with your requests? I’d love to hear about any situations that seem to make defiance or misbehavior show up that you would like to turn around.
Peace & Be Well,
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