Child experts say promoting good decision making skills in children will benefit them in many ways. Not only will they feel confident with making a choice, but often, it’ll be a smart one.
MSU child development expert Claire Vallotton says we all want our children to make thoughtful choices, understand the consequences of their actions, and feel confident to assert themselves when needed. Vallotton believes many parents don’t realize they can start promoting these qualities before their kid reaches the age of 1.
“The more thoughtful decision making we can support them to do early in life, the better decision makers they are, the earlier we can trust them to be making their own decisions.”
Four simple ways to foster good decision making skills early in life include:
*Offering choices they can clearly understand
*Limiting the options to choose from
*Compare-and-contrast each choice with your child
*Allow for poor decisions.
Practicing these tips with your kids can allow them to feel a bit of independence, and as Dr. Holly Brophy-Herb says, will benefit a child’s growth as they mature.
“When you meet that need for this very normal desire for some power and control in their life, when you meet that need, you are less likely to see challenging behaviors in young children
As your kids get older, making good decisions can help build important qualities like confidence, empowerment, and respect. These are needed as they age because yes mom and dad, one day your kids will be on their own.
“They feel a little more control of themselves and ultimately if we are talking about issues of safety and consent in the future, we’ve built in the idea around decision making that children understand they should have a say and power in what happens to them.”
Another way to help kids make good decisions is to size up the decision. Explain that small decisions, like what they want to drink, can be made quickly. Medium decisions, such as what to wear to school, requires a little more thought. Larger decisions, like choosing a sport or hobby to participate in, may call for a little more time and consideration.