How can I get my child to do what I’ve asked? 5 top tips for developing cooperation.

Getting children to do what they’ve been asked can be totally infuriating! “She just won’t listen!” Or “I’m sure my son hears me but totally ignores me!” Being a parent is such a hard job at times but there are things that we can do, as parents, to help teach cooperation and here are my top tips. I hope they prove useful to you.

1. Develop a family belonging

If you want your children to cooperate, you need to start developing that from a very young age. Toddlers can help you put their toys away so be super positive about this task. “Can you help mummy put your toys away?” Take turns. “One toy for mummy, one toy for you.” Encourage that ‘helping stage’ when your toddler wants to help mop or polish. This will help your children learn to share and cooperate from a young age. This expectation will then become part of the way your family works and develop a sense of family belonging.

2. Keep it simple and positive 

Wherever possible, make requests positives, especially with toddlers.  For example, “Let’s keep the sand in the tray.” Here the child will hear the instruction. If you say, “don’t put the sand on the floor,” then your child hears sand and floor and may put the sand on the floor! Keep it simple and keep it positive. As your child grows, try to ignore certain negative behaviours and focus on the positives. This will mean your child will feel rewarded by your praise and so will want to please you. If your child always plays up at dinner time, try to ignore as much as this behaviour as possible but praise even the smallest example of what you want. For example, if your child eats a mouthful of food using their fork (if that’s what you would like them to do), praise them. To develop cooperation, give praise for specifics such as, “thank you for putting your plate in the sink, I can now wash it up.” Positives don’t always come naturally as they can sound false at first but your child will respond to kindness.

How can I get my child to do as I’ve asked? 5 top tips for developing cooperation. Oldhouseintheshires. #parenting

3. Give positive requests rather than commands.

Instead of saying, “put your shoes on,” tell you child it’s time to go out. Give them the choice of which shoes they can wear if possible. Sometimes, these positive requests won’t work (and it’s always when we are in a rush!) but by remembering these techniques, you will develop cooperation hopefully when it’s needed. Make it part of your routine. If children feel like they are being barked at all the time, they will resist against it. Speaking to children in a kind way will help them to be kind themselves which is surely the greatest gift we can give our children.

4. Give choices whilst keeping your requests.

If your child is stubborn or Is going through a challenging stage, give them choices but keep them within what you want your child to do. For example, your child has to brush their teeth so give them the choice of brushing them now or after their story. They do need to brush them after their story though! Or, “do you want to wear the blue or red T-shirt.” All these choices will build respect and cooperation. Let the small things go so if they want to wear their princess outfit all the time, let them. This is not important in the scheme of things and it will make your child feel as if they have choices.

5. Let your child problem solve.

If your child will not cooperating with you, talk to them about it. “You know we don’t write on the walls but where can you draw?” Let them see that some choices are not good but there may be an alternative. “I know you don’t want to eat your carrots, which vegetable would you like to try?”


I am a parent and I have been in the situation when your child repeatedly fights you on everything! It’s very tricky to stay calm and patient. However, that is exactly what you should try to do as the tricky stage does pass; I promise!

How do I get my child to do as I’ve asked. 5 top tips to develop cooperation. Oldhouseintheshires. #parenting

Mum Muddling Through
DIY Daddy
Mission Mindfulness



  • I can think of a few adults that I might apply that advice to …. excellent advice it is! X

  • Oh gosh I really am in the middle of this right now! So true about staying calm and patient it really works along with positive vibes! Great post #coolmumclub

    • It can be so tricky though when everyone is so tired….and hot!

  • These are such helpful tips for encouraging co-operation. I tend to find that a little encouragement does go a long way and trying to use positive requests rather than “don’t” works well as well. Putting a timer on often helps my youngest with putting toys away – it becomes a race then which makes it a little more fun. #coolmumclub

    • Yes, sandtimers work really well dont they?

  • I really need to try to stick to some of these. My son utterly ignores half my requests and I am so weary of hearing myself end up shouting at him (which has no bloody effect anyway, so does nothing but put me in a bad mood). He’s not much fussed about praise either, to be honest, but it’s got to be a better approach. #coolmumclub.

    • I’m so glad these were useful. Nothing is perfect for sure. x

    • Yes, definately use some of these. x

  • Oh this resonated so much! I went on a managing behaviour course which echoed all these sentiments but I still need reminding. With the mouse, a feisty three year old, I definitely believe a positive approach works best – smiling whilst crying inside and showing her how happy she makes me is always the best approach. I’d be lying if I said I managed it all the time though!! It’s testing times!
    Thanks for linking to #CoolMumClub

    • It’s very testing at 3 and 4 but well done you for being such a positive parent. X

  • Despite having four children ranging from 16-2 it’s so easy to forget that it’s sometimes just the simple things that work the best. My 2 year old has been extremely challenging lately but going back to basics has made such a huge difference to her behaviour. This post is a great reminder to just stop, take a breath and remember that the simple things really do work. Well done!

    • Thank you Emma. I really appreciate your kind words. X

  • Makes me feel guilty I have not always operated with these simple but clever constructions. However our greatest success was with our wonderful but stubborn son, until instead of forcing him to do his teeth, after yet another stand-off, or have a shower, we simply asked him if he wanted to have his shower now or in the morning, and it worked like magic. He is 13 now He will do anything he is asked if it is framed in this way. Life-saver! #ThatFridayLinky

    • I’m glad you enjoyed my post. We learn so much as we go along, don’t we?

  • Some great ideas here – and things some adults haven’t yet managed to work out yet for interacting with others in a meaningful, kind and thoughtful way …

  • Some great tips. N is terrible at doing what asked. He’s just too distracted, and most of the time has selective hearing. #coolmumclub

  • Some fab tips here. My little girl thrives off praise and loves to clap herself so we try to keep everything positive. But it’s so hard sometimes! The little devil knows how to keep us on our toes! #thesatsesh
    The Rhyming Mum recently posted…A late night missionMy Profile

    • Oh it is tricky but sounds like you are doing a great job.

  • Great post! 🌈 I am a big fan of the giving choices approach. My son (autistic) never followed requests until I gave choices. And I use this technique a lot at school too, especially with challenging pupils. Thank you for the reminder and for sharing these fab tips 🌈 #thesatsesh
    Spectrum Mum 🌈 recently posted…Photo Diary #2My Profile

  • Oooh yes – really good reminders here – I think I generally keep positive but getting the little blighters to help me tidy up is a pain with 2 out of the 3 children so I need to re-engage with this as have almost given up as can’t take the moaning! Love this post for it’s simplicity and realism too. xx #thesatsesh

    • Thanks Hayley. That’s kind. X

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.