Child's hand in adults

We talk about our children co-operating with adults, but how about the other way around. Do adults co-operate effectively with them?

Children often moan that we are not co-operating with them. The reason being is that they have asked us something and we aren’t listening or we have not heard their request. Sometimes we just don’t hear them because we are absorbed in a chore, activity or in another room – we are just busy.  Other times our minds are elsewhere and so don’t hear them. Is it our fault?

Improving co-operation

Parents can be more co-operative by getting our children to come and talk to us if we are in a different room to them. Shouting between rooms is not helpful as we can’t hear them and are not going to have a conversation with raised voices. Ask them if they would shout to their teacher across the classroom? They would probably say ‘No.’ Well, the same rules apply at home. If your children shout at you from another room wait until they come and find you and then listen to what they want to say.

The second thing we can do is to put our phones away so that we show them that we are listening. The same goes for the chore we are doing. If they come and find where we are we could stop what we are doing, face them and listen. Alternatively we could ask them to wait until we have finished doing something and then they can speak to us.

I mention this tool in my book, The Parents Toolkit. It is called the listening and cooperation tool and is perfect to use with primary school aged children. If your child asks you to do something for them or asks for help explain to them that you are busy but you want to give them your undivided attention and listen to them without interruption. Say to them, ‘I will be able to listen to you when I have finished this task and if you could just hold that thought, you can have my full attention’.

I use that expression quite a lot, ‘just hold that thought’. Alternatively, you could say to your child, ‘I am sorry but I am doing X, count to 60 and I will be with you’.

In order to be fully co-operative our children are going to want us to say ‘yes’ more. Think about the impact and implications before you do. There is being co-operative and being taken advantage of!