Cultivating cooperation in a toddler is a tricky thing. Toddlers are naturally curious they are impulsive, and they are servants to their will.
These four simple tools help to give your toddler a sense of control, which is a big factor in the cultivating cooperation.
- Give age appropriate choices
We can offer our toddler choices to encourage cooperation Not big decisions like where they will go to school, but age appropriate choices, like which color T-shirt they would like to wear, or encouraging the walk to the bath, “would you like to jump like kangaroo or walk on all fours like a dog?” (Something fun like that)
- Give them information
Rather than issuing commands- “put eh orange peel in the bin, please” we can give information instead: “the orange peel goes in the bin.” Then they can figure out for themselves that they need to take it to the bine. It becomes something they choose to do rather than another order from the adult.
- Try using ONE word
Sometimes we as parents use too many words when giving instructions. “Were going to the park. We’ll need your shoes. Our shoes protect our feet. Its good to put them on, where are your shoes? Did you put them on yet?” And the list goes onnnnnnnnn
Try using ONE word instead “Shoes.” Again the child needs to figure out what they need to do on their own, giving then some control in the situation.
- Get their agreement
Getting our child on board and letting them feel like they’re part of the process will help with gaining their cooperation, If we know that or child has trouble leaving the house or the playground, we can let them know we’ll be leaving in five minutes. We can then check to make sure they heard and make a plan with them. They may not understand how long five minutes is, but they learn the concept over time.
You could say “I see you are working on this puzzle, and we are leaving in five minutes. I’m worried you might not have time to finish it before we leave. Do you want to put it somewhere safe to keep working on it when we get back, or do you want to put it away and try it again later?”
For the playground “we have five minutes before we leave the playground. Would you like to have one last turn on the slide(or whatever activity they’re enjoying at the park)?”
Don’t forget to save this post to reference later when you’re working through some cooperation challenges.