How to get kids to cooperate without nagging

Are you constantly repeating yourself? 

“Go to bed” “Time for bed” “It’s your bedtime!” “GO TO BED NOW!”

“Put away your phone, cell phones off, no phones at the table, gimme your phone.”

If you are like most parents, there are a few areas where you keep having the same argument over and over again. Whether it’s “do your homework” or “don’t leave wet towels on the carpet” repeating ourselves can make us feel ignored and disrespected which only makes us more frustrated. Raising kids is a lot of work and you deserve to feel as much joy and appreciation as possible!  Try the following steps to gain cooperation from your children and resolve the repetitive nagging in your home. I’m going to show you with real example where these techniques worked like a charm in my house.

My daughter hated going to bed so she would drag her feet, stall, come up with excuses every night. At that time of day I was so tired I would inevitably lose my cool, yell, or get really annoyed with her.

  1. Step one – Write down every silly or illogical answer you have in your brain and finish the statement “A good Mom would…….” especially when it comes to the particular issue you’ve been arguing over. Think about every judgement you have of other Moms and all the things you beat yourself up for. My crazy mental list goes “A good Mom would never yell, she would have obedient children who go to bed on time happily. She creates bedtime rituals the children look forward to and therefore comply easily.” When you can see your beliefs written out on paper, it’s easier to see the perfectionistic expectations we carry around in our culture. Notice how much pressure this “good mom” stuff puts on us, and then how much pressure we put on our kids to do everything right all the time, even when it’s illogical and ridiculous.
  2. Step two – Imagine that there is an amazingly wonderful Mom out there who keeps a messy home, who’s kids aren’t perfectly polite, hard working, helpful or happy.  Think of three examples of Moms you admire who’s children aren’t perfect. Let’s do our kids a favor and keep our identity out of their behavior. (Julie, Heather, Laura, the list goes on and on…..)
  3. Step three – Once you feel calm and clear headed, and can laugh at your own brain, take your paper and pencil to your child and ask him or her to help you solve a problem.  Describe the problem while presenting both sides of the story. “When it’s your bedtime, you ask for more stories, more snuggle time, and find reasons to get up out of bed. When I’m tucking you in, I’m tired. Often I get cranky, yell or snap at you and then our nice snuggle time has turned nasty. This bedtime routine isn’t working for me and I’d like to change it, are you in?” (wait for them to agree on making a change).
  4. Step four – Take a guess at what you imagine your child wants. “I think you want me to snuggle with you all night long, is that right?”
  5. Step five – Tell them what you really want (their obedience is not the answer. Ask yourself WHY you want them to comply). “I want to go to bed feeling loving towards you instead of annoyed.” or “I’m so tired I just want to go to bed and not talk to anyone.”
  6. Step six – Let’s write down every possible solution we can think of to solve this problem for both of us. “If you slept with me in my bed, you could get sleep and feel loving.” (child’s suggestion)

  “I could tuck you in and you could just stay in your bed.” (parent’s suggestion)

  “I could sleep in your bed with you and Daddy.”

  “I could give you 15 minutes of my time and you can choose I how spend it, read, play a game, tickle your back, whatever you choose.”

  “We could get a dog, and it could sleep with me so I’m not alone in my bed at night.”

  “We could move your bedtime up earlier so I’m not as exhausted and less likely to snap.”

    “We could have a silent bedtime tuck-in where nobody speaks.”

Write down every idea you have and your child has, no matter how wacky. This shows your child you are a team, you take him seriously, and that his needs are just as important as yours.

7. Step seven – Take turns eliminating one option at a time. You might cross off “Sleeping in bed with Daddy and I.” Your child might cross off earlier bedtime. When you’ve crossed off the most outrageous ones you get down to the final few ideas, consider combining them to make a compromise that works for you both. Each of you signs the paper, you shake on it, and posts it on the bedroom wall.

8. Step eight – This usually works so well it doesn’t require consequences but it’s nice to have them written down just in case. Pick something reasonable that you know you can follow through with. “If you get up after I’ve tucked you in, know that you will lose your treat privilege the next day.” or “If I yell and snap at you and you have upheld your end of the bargain, I will give you an extra 10 minutes of cuddle time the following night.” Kids cooperate really well when they can predict the consequences of their actions with 100% reliability.

Jump onto my Facebook page and let me know how this problem solving technique works in your home. You can get the cooperation you deserve.