Before reacting negatively when your child says no, ask yourself these five important questions.
How would I feel if I were my child?
Considering your child’s point of view is the first step toward finding ways to motivate him to cooperate. Is he tired? Is he having a great time playing with his blocks? Is he watching his favorite show? Is he afraid of something you’re asking him to do? Once you understand his agenda, you can help him meet yours.
What is my child capable of doing?
Are your expectations too high? Is your child physically able to do what you’re asking of him? Can he hear you okay? Can he understand the words you’re using? Remember, each child is unique and develops on his own timetable. Consult your health-care provider if you’re concerned about your child’s developmental progress.
Have I taught my child what I’m asking him to do?
Have you practiced each step to make sure he understands what to do? If not, spend time teaching him how to brush his teeth, for example, before asking him to do so. You may have to practice many times before he masters the skill. Patience is the key!
How many directions can my child follow?
If you ask your child to get dressed, turn off the TV, and put away his toys, will he remember to do each thing? Can he follow your directions without getting distracted? If not, test your child’s ability to follow directions. After he shows you that he can follow one direction, try two and eventually three at a time.
Am I being a good role model for my child?
Has your child ever watched you brush your teeth? Wash your hands? Use your napkin? Wear your seat belt? If not, remember that your child is always watching your example. Practice what you teach!