Off to School Toolbox: Helping Kids Make Choices

Another way to support children as they are becoming more independent is by helping kids make choices. Decision-making strategies are great school tools.helping children make choices

At first glance, this may not seem to be important but every choice we make influences our lives in ways both big and small. Choosing cereal or toast for breakfast may not make much difference for an adult but to kids, this can be a big deal. It means they have the power to choose.

Like so many other skills, development needs experience and practice. For some children, making choices is quite a challenge. There are so many things to think about and something has to get left out. Others make choices impulsively, often based on the first alternative, while some want to decide every detail. The results or consequences make the process of deciding even more complicated.

helping children make choicesSome opportunities for kids to practice making choices might include what color of socks, the kind of cereal in the morning, having a sandwich cut in half or in quarters, and the story to read first. Children’s play presents many chances for choices and decisions, as well as the accompanying consequences. Simple games like X and O’s have many options.

Talking out loud as we think over some alternatives gives children a chance to hear our decision-making skills. It may not always be appropriate for us to explain why we have made a particular choice, but when we can do, this is another way of helping kids make choices.

Gingerbread ManChildren’s stories often include choices and outcomes. Think of the gingerbread man. Was it a good decision to ride on the fox’s nose? You can talk about what happens with your child. The monkey, Curious George, makes choices that usually mean trouble of some sort or another, some that George or The Man with the Yellow Hat can fix, but not always.

Tests aren’t they only places that have multiple choices. Each and every day will have gazillions. How do you help your child make decisions? Could choosing be the play-of-the-day?

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