What are some ways to get kids to cooperate more readily or willingly?
That's the million dollar question, because all day long, we have a list of tasks that we want our kids to do, and; eventually, they just get worn out, especially when we come to them with our neediness, our desperation, with our impatience. We are check, check, checking things off.
A better way is to start by acknowledging your child's resistance, if he has it, which he very well may. "I understand you don't want to help me set the table. I get it. There are other things you would rather be doing. I understand." You don't make a case for it. You hold your position and stay in charge. You don't imply that there is hope, that if he digs in his heels, you might change your mind. "I get it. You were having a lot of fun in the other room. I understand. So, do you want to come and do it from the right side or the left?"
That's one piece. One piece is, you don't engage with the resistance. You don't give a lot of reasons and explanations.
The other piece is that we know kids are inherently resistant to being bossed around, outside of attachment; so when I work with a chronically difficult or uncooperative child in my practice or over the phone in the phone coaching that I do; my advice is work on the connection between you. When a child feels really close to you, your child wants to cooperate more and do what you ask.