Decision making is the process of making a choice. It is important to help build your childs decision making skills from an early age, by giving them lots of practice in an appropriate way! Decision making skills are life skills that all of us living beings require, be it humans or animals. It begins early in life as toddlers decide which toys are their favourites and which ones don’t deserve their attention.
On the other hand, learn if confusion is good or bad for children
Here are five ways to improve your childs decision making skills:
Expose children to the real world
When children learn a lesson through their own experiences, it provides them with greater insight. For example, you can let your child decide when he wants to do his homework. Discuss the following steps and explain how they can be applied to other scenarios as well:
What are the options?
Doing it the night before or completing the homework in the morning before school.
Evaluate the options and pick the best one
Finishing homework the night before can free them of the stress in the morning. However, for some children mornings may be the best time they can focus.
Act on your choice and see how it works
Let the child choose even if you do not agree to her choice. Implement the choice for a few days and see if it was the best decision.
Acknowledging and praising children when they make good decisions goes a long way. Firstly, it helps them understand that the particular decision was good . Secondly, it motivates them to make similar decisions in future. For example, if the childs decision to do his homework in the morning before school has improved his grades, let him know you are proud of his decision and the improvement.
Lend a helping hand
Children may sometimes not feel confident in making their own decisions. Although the decision may seem petty for you, that may not be the case for the child. For example, let your child decide what to have for breakfast by giving him two or three healthy options to choose from e.g., a sandwich or an egg. Let your child understand that whatever he does not choose today he can have it for breakfast the next day.
Involve them in everyday decisions
Include children in your own decisions and ask them for advice. For example, “I’m trying to decide whether to take up running or yoga classes, to increase my level of activity. Which one do you think I should do?”
Then go over the pros and cons of each suggestion so that your child can learn how to thoughtfully consider different options, to then be able to make an informed decision.
Ask questions which promote thinking & elimination
“What do you like about that?”, “What makes this the best option?”, “How would this work?” These are few examples of questions you could ask your children to spark thought-provoking conversations. Such questions allow children to be mindful of their choices and understand that there will be some sort of reaction or consequence to it. Elimination is a very critical part of decision making.
“Children learn how to make good decisions by making decisions, not by following directions”
— Alfie Kohn