Teach your child to make better choices each day. Here's how.
So have you cast a vote?
No, we are not suddenly interested in the elections, but it is interesting, isn’t it, about how we need to choose who governs the nation we live in? How we have to select who represents us. What has this to do with parenting?
As parents, one of our primary goals is to teach our kids good decision making, which is often the key to a happy life. Since we cannot always be there with our kids and make choices for them, this is a crucial life-skill they need to learn.
How can we empower our children for later life choices? It all starts when they are little. We need to give our kids the freedom and the wisdom to make positive choices.
Decision making for kids: how to get started
You can start with letting them make small everyday choices. For instance, for your pre-school kids, you can keep two outfits for the day ready and ask them to pick one. This will make them feel that they have a choice. At the same time, you also make your own life simple as they will not disarrange the entire wardrobe.
Start young. From kindergarten to pre-school to tweens and teens; every stage demands choices, and you can give them age-appropriate choices that will sharpen their thinking and decision making skills.
Give choices you can agree to. "Would you like rice or roti?" may be an excellent way to give a choice if both options are available at the table. It is a smart idea to provide choices within reason and ones that you can fulfill.
An open-ended choice is not good. 'What would you like to do?' is opening up a Pandora’s Box. On the other hand, 'Would you like to play for ten more minutes before you wash off the chalk dust?' is a good choice. Unlike in advertisements, where the world is perfect, our options in life are limited. Let them learn that young.
Do it through play. Playtime is an excellent time to learn decision making. "Do you want to play with your blocks or your cars today?" Something like this is a simple, easy decision that will make the child think about what they want to do.
Talk to kids about decision making. "Would you like to read a book or play with your puzzle now? If you decide to read now, you can play with the puzzle when your friend comes to play with you later." Discussing the outcomes of the choices they make helps kids understand their importance. Both options may have attractions but they need to weigh the pros and cons before deciding. When only one choice can be made right now, be very clear about that. Don't let them cajole you into doing both!
Empower them with knowledge. Leave the decision making to them. The key to making healthy choices is to have the experience that will help make informed choices.
Make them responsible. Living with the choices we make is a huge reality in our lives. For that brief time, when they choose to play a particular game or do a certain thing, let them be responsible for it.
Decision making in everyday life
We vote for things every day and make choices that impact our lives in big and small ways. Do I take up the job far away from home or do I work from home? Do I choose course A versus course B? Do I choose a portion of delicious junk food or a healthy, nutritious one for dinner? Whereas elections come only once in five years, every choice we make has an impact on our everyday lives.
Let's make the choice to teach our children how to make better choices each day. and grow up to be independent, confident, happy adults!