Children start making their own decisions from a young age. As a little toddler, they start making decisions about what toys they want to play with or what shows to watch on television. In time your child should grow to start making bigger decisions on their own, but what happens when you find that your child is having a hard time making decisions? How do you teach children to make choices on their own?
For some children, making decisions isn’t that easy. Some children are indecisive or too shy to speak up and make a choice for themselves. My 5 yr old has no problem making decisions for himself and anyone else. On the other hand my 11 yr old struggles with making decisions. If you’re wondering how you can work to help your child to make decisions, then continue reading to find some tips on how you can work with your child to help them make decisions on their own.
Practice Making Decisions
You can start allowing your child to make simple decisions from a young age. Something as simple as picking out two outfits for your child to make a decision on what to wear will give them some practice in making a decision. Other options could include given them a choice between two different snacks at snack time or having them choose their own book to read during reading time. There are many options throughout the day that give you a chance to have your child practice making decisions. Start with small decisions so they can grow in confidence to make bigger decisions.
Discuss the Steps of Decision Making
As your child gets older and has to start making bigger decisions on their own, you’ll want to teach them the steps of decision making. There are a few simple steps to teach your child about making their own decisions.
- Identify the decision to be made and figure out what is at stake.
- Gather facts and think of a few options
- Determine which option seems to be the best one at the moment
- Identify just in case alternatives
- Put the decision into action
- See what the results are.
- Discuss the outcome if needed or just go with the flow
- If needed use the alternative but as decision making improves you will need alternatives less and less
Teaching your child these decision-making steps will help them take action in the future. They will be able to map out their decision making process to hopefully achieve the best results.
Involve Child in Your Decisions
When your child is old enough to start understanding the process that occurs when making a decision, you can start involving them in some of your decisions. Some easy ways your child can be involved in your decision-making process could be what to cook for dinner, what time to go grocery shopping or even what movie you’ll watch together on family movie night. Allowing your child to be involved in this minor adult decision making moments will teach them by example.
As your child begins to face problems or situations where they must make a decision, you can easily help your child learn to make decisions by asking questions. Be sure to keep the questions open-minded and asked in a way that encourages your child to think on their own. Try your best not to lead them forward on a decision you feel is best. Asking questions is a great way to start getting your child to have a solution based mind so that they can think and solve problems independently.
Accept Their Decision
You will not agree with every decision your child makes. However, as long as it is not going to hurt them or someone else accepting their decision will help show them their thoughts are valid. Do your best not to demean their decision but to support it to the best of your ability. Trust me it can be hard sometimes. I have literally watched my 5 yr old decide to wear footed pajamas to preschool in 100 degree weather. He went thru his process and thats what he chose. Instead of telling him it was foolish I packed him a change of clothes and let his teacher know when he was ready the clothes were in his bag. As their decisions are accepted they will grow more confident in making choices.
There you have it, a handful of ways you can work with your child to help them learn to make decisions. Sometimes it’s not easy to sit back and allow your child to make their own decisions. It can be especially hard if they have difficulties with this process or if it’s a big decision. Try yo remember you’re helping your child mature and gain confidence when you work to help them make decisions on their own. This is a skill your child will need to master so that they can become well-balanced adults who are able to make their own decisions