What To Do When Your Child Doesn’t Want To Do Something

Eight Simple Strategies

At Behavior Essentials we want to give you the tools to manage and increase your child's skills not just now but for the future. 
Cooperation is the ability to balance your own needs with someone else’s. We often think of cooperation as children doing what parents want. That is compliance. True cooperation means a joint effort—a give and take that is rewarding for both the parent and their child. To develop a better sense of cooperation in children, try the following simple strategies and statements:

(1) Offer Your Child a Choice
Providing young children opportunities to use their voices, make decisions, develop ownership, show respect and solve problems are great ways to bond with them in addition to building cooperation. It is suggested to limit choices to two. If they do not choose between the two, avoid
providing a third, fourth, etc.

—“Do you want five or ten more minutes?”
—“Would you like a cookie or no cookies?”
—“Should we eat broccoli or salad?”

(2) Acknowledge Their Preferences/Validating Their Feelings
Validation simply means accepting the child’s experience for what it is, even if you don’t agree with it, even if it doesn’t make sense to you. Validation is all about understanding that your child did or didn’t do something because he/she thought about something, felt something, etc.

Provide statements such as:
—“I can see you are upset and don’t want to brush your teeth.”
—“I hear that what to stay longer at the party and it’s hard to leave so soon.”
—“I understand this is not your favorite breakfast food.”

(3) Teach Your Child to Ask for a Break or Help
When presenting an instruction to your child that typically results in refusal, let them know when the instruction is being provided that help is available and/or to let you know if they need a break. Do this before refusal or off-task behavior. When providing the instruction, tell your child:

—“I know reading is not always easy. If you need help with a word, I am here to help you, just ask.”
—“Folding laundry sometimes takes a really long time. If at any time you need a break, let me know and we can pause for five minutes. I can set a timer.”

(4) Reward Their Communication and General Efforts
If your child communicates they need more time, want to delay the task in an appropriate way, honor that communication if you would typically receive refusal. You can say:

—“Thank you for using your words. I will give you five more minutes before we put the
tablet away.”

—During a long nighttime routine: “I appreciate you coming to the room to put your
pajamas on”

(5) Use First-Then Language
Let your child know the order of operations. Using statements that provide a clear instruction and what is to follow can be helpful. These statements may sound like:

—“First clean up your crayons, and then we can play Legos.”
—“First tie your shoes, then we can go for a bike ride.”
—“First eat your pasta, then we can have some strawberries.”
—“First read one page, then you can play video games.”

(6) Break Challenging Tasks Down
When a task feels too daunting for your child, try breaking it down intro smaller parts for them. You can make a list or give them one step at a time.

For example:
—“First make your bed, then put your dirty clothes in the hamper.”
—“Do the odd math problems before dinner then the even math problems before dessert.”

(7) Take Turns
Sharing tasks shows how important it is for everyone to do their share. You might want to tell your child:
—“I will pick up five toys then you pick up five.”
—“You will unload the dishwasher tonight and your brother will do it next time.”

(8) Hold Your Limits and Boundaries
Once you have established a request that is non-negotiable, hold that request and praise their follow through. Explain the importance of cooperation. Statements such as the following may help:
—“I understand you do not like my decision.”
—“I am going to take a break from talking about this.”
—“We are all done with the park for today.”

At Behavior Essentials, we can teach you why specific behaviors occur and how to prevent and respond to them. We can also teach you all about Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and the language you will encounter when speaking with ABA providers. We will also connect you with resources, put your child’s name on as many waitlists as possible, and follow up with providers to make sure your child’s spot is retained. Where

To Get More Information.

More resources:

Most Common Early Signs of Autism