Creative Child

Phrases that Encourage Your Child to Cooperate

by Rebecca Eanes


The second way to increase cooperation is by changing your language so that you do not sound coercive, bossy, or controlling. If your words or tone are threatening, you’re more likely to activate that instinct and shut down cooperation. However, by inviting cooperation, showing respect, and being a team player, you’re much more likely to see results. Here are 20 phrases to try instead of demands and threats. 

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  1. Should we do it the same way or try a new way?
  2. I would appreciate your help with this. 
  3. I’m open to ideas.
  4. Would you like to ____ or _____?
  5. We need a solution for this. Can you think of one?
  6. I will tell you my perspective, then I’ll listen to yours.
  7. Thank you for…
  8. How about we take turns?
  9. Let’s try this a different way.
  10. Let’s split the work. I’ll do this and you do that.
  11. Can you show me your way?
  12. Would you like a hand?
  13. Let’s try teamworking this!
  14. When you ____, it helps me because _____.
  15. Let’s go for a do-over on this one.
  16. What’s the first step?
  17. Where would you like to begin?
  18. Let’s brainstorm ideas.
  19. It shows great responsibility when you ____. Thank you!
  20. Would you like to race/beat the timer?

Remember the golden rule: Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you. Always run what you’re saying through the filter “how would I feel if someone spoke to me that way?” Very few people respond kindly to demands or disrespect because all humans have a desire to be treated with kindness, respect, and fairness. With a little patience and creativity, you can turn your child from defiant to cooperative. Just remember to stay connected because without that relationship in strong standing, cooperation is hard to come by.

Rebecca Eanes is the bestselling author of multiple books including Positive Parenting: An Essential Guide, The Positive Parenting Workbook, and The Gift of a Happy Mother. She is the grateful mom of two boys. 


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