As children grow up, their parents feel a challenge to develop their behavioural skills and engage them in activities that help them grow their abilities. One of the most important things we all do every day of our lives is making decisions. This could include what to eat, what to wear or where to go for a holiday. Therefore, it is important to teach decision making to toddlers and we can start this early in their lives.
Teaching toddlers to make decisions-
This is a very vital part of toddlers’ social and emotional training. A simple act of giving two choices to the child makes them feel empowered to make decisions. This helps them to process their options and choose what they would like to do. It also teaches responsibility. For example, when going out of the house you could ask your child ‘Would you like to wear your red or the blue jumper?’ This simply implies the jumper must be worn but by giving that choice makes your child feel in control.
It starts with small problems that we are expecting them to solve. A simple question, ‘Would you like to read the storybook A or B’ and they pick one. We can add to a bit complexity by saying that ‘we read storybook A yesterday, how about we read B or C today?’ This helps them expand their thinking.
Once they pick their option, they will not feel like something was enforced on them so there is no resistance and the activity they picked out was their own choice. It will give them a more positive mindset. However, there will be a lesson in consequences as well. If a decision they make does not turn out as expected, it will serve as a learning for the next time.
Some benefits of giving two choices to toddlers are:
- It develops problem-solving skills
- It teaches them about decision making
- It educates them about responsibility and consequences
- It helps diffuse tantrums
- It builds confidence
- It makes the child feel more in control
Some important things to keep in mind while giving choices to toddlers are:
- Keep the choices simple. Too many choices can be overwhelming.
- Rotate the options so that they get to try other things as well.
- Set boundaries. In some cases, kids cannot have a choice. Especially when it comes to health and safety.
Hope you liked the suggestions and tips to teach decision making to toddlers. Do let me know in the comments below about your experience in any such situation or how you teach it to your kids.