3 Practical Ways to Get Kiddos to Cooperate Today


3 Practical Ways to Get Kiddos to Cooperate Today

by Megan B. Bartley, MAMFT, LMFT, Founding Director of the Louisville Mindfulness Center

Megan Bartley

Kids not cooperating?! No problem! We’ve got this! At Louisville Mindfulness Center, we offer “Tools for your Toolbox to Handle all of Life’s Stressors.” 

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1) Show Up With Your Kiddos How You Want Them To Show Up With You

An oldie but goodie…model the behavior you want to see. Our brains have these wonderful things called mirror neurons that help us mirror back to others how they are presenting themselves to us. What we forget as parents is that we are oftentimes the ones setting the tone with our kids, not the other way around.


Our non-verbal communication makes up over 90% of what we communicate. Our tone of voice, volume of voice, facial expressions, hand movements, and body posture communicates over 90% of what our kiddos take in from us. This means that only 10% are the actual words!!

Here’s an experiment: (perhaps just play it out in your own imagination): Imagine what a person would experience if you screamed, “I LOVE YOU!!!!!” in your most angriest tone with your fists balled up as you’re stomping your feet. Now imagine smiling warmly, looking a person in the eye, and almost in a whisper saying, “I love you.”  Same words, different message.


2) Give Your Kiddos 5 Positive Comments for Every 1 Negative Comment/Nag/Ask


Think of this like filling a “love tank” with fuel. If a kiddo’s love tank is empty or very close to empty, they will feel depleted and uncooperative because they don’t have any fuel (energy), either physical, emotional, or mental, to use on a task you are asking of them. 


When you fill up your kiddo’s love tank with wonderful comments like: “Thanks for hanging up your coat!” “I appreciate you bringing your plate to the sink.” “Look how well you did on that assignment!” you are adding fuel to your kiddo’s love tank. Then when you need to make an ask (or withdrawal), if the love tank has a fair amount of fuel, it doesn’t feel like that big of a deal for the kiddo and likely they’ll be more cooperative.

3) Make Routine Tasks FUN!

I haven’t met a parent yet who can’t wait to ask their kiddo to pick up her room, load or unload the dishwasher, help with the laundry, or clean the house. I also haven’t met a parent yet who *LOVES* doing those tasks herself. Yet, all those things need to get done at some point. So why not MAKE IT FUN?!?! 

make it fun

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Need some fun ideas to do with your kiddos? Here is a post with some ideas. 

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