Adjust the environment. For a homework session, for instance, remove distractions like video screens and toys, provide a snack if your child is hungry, and schedule breaks to help him stay alert.
Make expectations clear. You’ll get better cooperation if you think clearly about what you are expecting, and tell your child with words. For example, explain that bedtime is at 8:00 on school nights. It starts with putting on pajamas, brushing teeth, using the bathroom, and a half hour of reading together in bed before lights out. It’s even more helpful to write expectations out and hang them up (using pictures if your child can’t read yet).
Countdown to transitions. Whenever possible, prepare your child for an upcoming transition. Let her know when there are 10 minutes remaining before she must come to dinner or start cleaning up. Then remind her when there are two minutes left. Be sure that you actually make the transition at the stated time.
Give a choice when possible. Providing two options is a good way to set up structure while empowering your child to have a say. You might ask, “Do you want to take a shower before dinner or after?” or “Do you want to turn off the TV or should I?” The key is that the choice should be presented calmly and politely.
Use “when, then” statements. These are a useful tool that offers a clear expectation as well as a reward for cooperating. For example: “When you complete your homework, then you will get to play on the iPad.” Make sure you present the “when, then” calmly and limit how often you repeat yourself.