Help your kids to learn decision-making skills. It is an important part of parenting and child development. One of the reasons adults resist making decisions is their lack of experience.
Kids who grew up under hovering helicopter parents didn’t have the same opportunities to make decisions that empowered kiddos did. Kids with parents who structured every second of their kids’ day may not have developed the problem-solving, critical thinking, and negotiating skills that free-range kids learned.
Some may argue that the world isn’t what it used to be, and kids can’t experience the freedoms that their feral latch-key parents had. Long gone are the days of going out to play in the neighborhood and not coming home until dark to parents who relied on Swanson’s tv dinners and sitcoms to fill up the hours prior to bedtime.
There’s a truth that the world is no longer as safe for kids to explore. Children require a higher level of security and vigilance than before, but that doesn’t diminish their need for independent thinking and making choices wherever possible. Learning to confidently make choices as a child makes decision-making normal.
Additionally, being able to make poor choices here and there while under the protection of their parents helps kids learn to face consequences and make better choices in the future. Helping kids make age-appropriate choices helps them their whole lives.
They are better able to:
Use critical thinking skills
Stand up for their values
Defend themselves intellectually
Know who they are and what they prefer
Not fear making a decision
You can help your kids by giving them choices perfect for their age and development.
Here are some examples:
Ask your toddler if they prefer juice or milk or offer them a variety of snacks and allow them to make their own choice.
Ask your preschooler if they want to take a bath before bed or in the morning. Help them sort out the pros and cons of each option and help them develop critical thinking skills through processing a normal life activity.
When they get in a jam, have them sort out the consequences and relay back to you why what they chose wasn’t their best decision. Be a sounding board and help them learn to self-regulate.
Begin to let your high-schooler make financial and other choices that are going to help them be independent after graduation. Managing their budget and facing spending consequences is safer when they are near the safety net of home.
Helping kids learn decision-making skills is an important part of parenting and child development. The sooner they learn to make good decisions, the easier they can face life’s ups and downs when you can’t be there.