As adults, we make a million decisions every day. Before we walk out of the door in the morning, we’ve already made a handful of decisions. You decide if you get some extra sleep, you decide what you’re wearing, and you decide what’s for breakfast. It’s hard to believe, but children make their share of decisions every day, too. They decide if they’re going to follow directions at school or if they’re going to behave at the dinner table. As they get older, they’ll have to make decisions that not only impact themselves, but their friends, families, and communities. It’s never too early to learn the importance of decision-making skills, even if they’re still answering the simple questions. Here are some simple steps you can take to help your child develop decision-making skills.
Recognize Opportunites for Practice
When you involve your kiddos in making decisions, it almost feels counter-productive. They always have a lot to say and sometimes make simple things really, really difficult. However, the best way to learn is through experience. You talk about making decisions all day long, but until they do it, you’ll be at square one. Start with simple decisions that won’t make or break your day and make sure you’re okay with every choice or solution you provide. Once they get better at this, you can move on to more serious decisions.
Talk it Out
If you don’t want to involve your kiddos in a majority of your decisions, that’s understandable. But, whenever you can, try to involve them in your own decisions. Ask them what they think you should do and why. Give them feedback on why you agree or disagree, and go through each of your choices. By explaining the purpose of rules or expectations, it’s easier for your kiddos to follow through with in the future.
Teach The Importance of a Process
As your children’s minds and personalities start to develop, it’s important to start on the right foot before bad habits develop. Having a routine is important to the process of learning, especially at a young age. So go through and explain the process, step-by-step.
- Identify the decision that needs to be made.
- Think about every choice that is a possible solution to this problem.
- Evaluate each option by thinking about the good and the bad. Then, choose which one you think is the best solution.
- Follow through with your solution and see if the outcome was positive or negative.
Use Questions to Inspire Reflection
Our kids tend to tune us out when we constantly ask them to communicate with us. We ask a question, get a one-worded response, have to answer another question, and it just keeps on going. So instead, ask questions that require an answer with a little bit of effort. Ask them why they made this decision, how did it go for them, was it what they expected, etc. Try to prompt them to think about these and make these conclusions on their own.
Set Goals Together
Setting goals with your little ones might sound a little crazy. But we’re not talking about 10-year career plans or deciding what they want to do for a living. However, setting goals motivates our kiddos but also helps them get into the habit of planning ahead. But most importantly, these goals need to be realistic and achievable for your children. Help them choose a new hobby or instrument to play. Communicate what that means and how future decisions will be impacted by their choices.
Making decisions isn’t easy for anyone. Even as adults, we are faced with problems that just don’t have a good outcome, no matter what we choose to do. But we have to learn how to be able to make good decisions, even when it’s really tough. Providing your children with the tools to develop decision-making skills won’t make every problem go away, but it’s a great place to start! How do you help your kiddos develop positive decision-making skills? Leave your comments below!