There are a few phrases that I love teaching in parenting classes because they are simple, easy to use and teach, and remember. They also can be powerful tools for changing the language we use with our kids.

One of my favorite small techniques that can produce big changes in cooperation is “noticing” or observing instead of lecturing or giving commands. It’s simple – start with the phrase “I notice…”

For example, instead of “I asked you to put your shoes on! Put them on right now!”, try “I notice your shoes are not on, and it’s almost time to leave for school.”

“I notice your toys are all over the floor. What do you need to do?”

“I notice you are still wearing pajamas. What do you need to do to get ready for school?”

This encourages cooperation by giving children the opportunity to think through what they need to do themselves, rather than hearing it from an adult (and likely responding, “no”). It can also set them up to begin noticing these things themselves in the future instead of relying on your to remind them.

Give “noticing” a try and see if you notice your child becoming more cooperative!