How To Gain Children’s Cooperation

As children come of age and enter their early learning phase, their newfound sense of independence and confidence help them socialise and gain acceptance amongst their peers. However, this period of development is also often characterised by an increasingly cheeky demeanour and a seemingly implacable desire to cause mischief wherever it lies. Children aged between three and five can endlessly push boundaries, sometimes causing hysteria and pandemonium. This can be challenging for parents and teachers who may feel lost amongst the tantrums. This is not always the case, however. In this blog post we outline several strategies which can be used to gain the cooperation of children in the early learning phase of their childhood.

Why Won’t My Toddler Behave?

Children see themselves as being able to do things themselves and this can mean they behave defiantly when they interpret your directions as controlling or dominating. For example, sometimes children’s selective hearing results in your instructions being blatantly ignored or even turned on their head. Telling a child, ‘Do not bang on the table’ may be interpreted as ‘Bang on the table’. The contrary nature of children requires a subtle touch to achieve a desired effect. Children need to fulfil their desire to do things themselves, so by phrasing your directions as questions like ‘can you do this?’ or ‘Can you show me how you do this?’ can often return a good result.

Children learn by repetition and this is especially true when they receive a big reaction to their behaviour. If you react unexpectedly to a child’s behaviour they will repeat it again and again to see the same reaction. Reverse psychology plays a big part here in handling inappropriate behaviour. By not reacting and simply ignoring bad behaviour, children do not get the kick out of watching you blow up, so to speak. They are therefore less likely to repeat the behaviour in order to get a big reaction out of you.

How Do You Deal With A Badly Behaved Toddler?

Dramatic play, positive framing and teaching responsibility are three ways to help children learn to contribute positively and ignore their impulse to misbehave.

Spend time developing your children’s sense of humour. Immersing yourself in dramatic play with a child can result in them laughing their head off as you pretend light objects are heavy, sneeze a hat off your head or pretend you can’t find something lying in front of you. A few comedic acts can lay the foundation for a good nature which certainly helps temper children when they are tempted to engage in bad behaviour.

Another strategy is to frame directions positively. For example, do not tell your child, ‘don’t run’, instead tell them ‘use your walking feet’; instead of saying ‘don’t yell’, say, ‘use your inside voice’. This way, rather than inhibiting their impulse, you give them an instruction to comply with.

Teaching children responsibility is a large part of helping them grow up to make positive contributions to their world. Giving young children jobs around the house or school helps them show you they can act responsibly and comply with instructions. It might take longer to get things done with a toddler in tow, however, research shows that this method is likely to result in children developing a positive attitude towards volunteering around the home or at school.

At Robyn Taylor Early Childhood Centre, we our teachers use a range of different strategies to help children learn to behave. We endorse dramatic play, positive framing and teaching responsibility as part of the Robyn Taylor Early Learning Method. If you would like to learn more about our crowd control strategies, book a tour of our education centre or enrol your child, please use our contact page to reach out to us or call on 02 9705 8309.