Do you think about how the children see you? Often adults want young children to learn from them, listen to them, even love them… but do they feel that you can see the world through their eyes? Do you try to imagine what it’s like to be them, or to remember yourself as a child, discovering the world for the first time?

It’s not easy to slow down and be with them in their meandering pace and big feelings, their intense focus on the things we deem unimportant compared to our schedules and our goals. Sometimes it may seem that a child’s determination to follow his or her own idea or path is directly correlated to how much the adult does not have time for it in that moment!

But what if the key to “winning cooperation” is rather than expecting them to cooperate with us, we intended to cooperate with them as much as possible? Easier said than done, especially for parents who have a million other things to do. But whenever you do make an effort to really look at something they are interested in, to listen to their thoughts and stories, to pause or set aside that thing you really wanted to get done, you are making a deposit in the bank of relationship.

This does not mean that you always need to be available, that’s not realistic! And it isn’t good for kids to never be alone. They should have opportunities to enjoy their own company, and that of other children, without the prying eyes and voices of adults present. What I’m talking about is when you have the choice to attend to what they care about, or to try and convince, cajole, trick, threaten, bribe or otherwise coerce them into abandoning their own pursuits and goals in order to follow yours, choose wisely.

Make sure that you are depositing more than you withdraw from the bank!