Advice on Letting the Kids Choose

Written by Elizabeth Pantley

It's tough growing up! Let Elizabeth Pantley's special brand of parenting wisdom guide you toward a better relationship with your child

There are so many things we must get our children to do and so many others we must stop them from doing! Get up. Get dressed. Don't dawdle. Do your homework. Eat. It goes on and on. Offering choices is a better way to get kids to cooperate, allow them to learn self-discipline and develop good decision-making skills.

Here are some examples of how you can use choice:
Do you want to wear your Big Bird pajamas or your Mickey Mouse pajamas?
What pair of shorts would you like to wear today?
Do you want to do your homework at the kitchen table or the desk?
Would you rather stop at the gas station or give me the money to fill the tank?
Do you want to wear your coat, carry it or put on a sweatshirt?
Would you prefer to let the dog out in the yard or take him for a walk?
What do you want to do first, take out the trash or dry the dishes?
Will you do your homework now, after dinner or shall I wake you at six tomorrow? 
Giving a choice is a powerful tool that can be used with toddlers through teenagers. It's one skill that every parent should have tattooed on the back of her hand as a constant reminder. Parents should use this skill every day.

It's effective because children love having the privilege of choice. It takes the pressure out of your request, and allows a child to feel in control, which makes them more willing to comply.

Using choice is an effective way to achieve results, and when you get in the habit of offering choices you are doing your children a big favor. As children learn to make simple choices, milk or juice, they get the practice required to make bigger choices: Buy two class T-shirts or one sweatshirt.

This in turn gives them the ability to make more important decisions later on ,save or spend, study or fail. Giving children choices teaches them to listen to their inner voice, a valuable skill that carries over into adulthood.

Offer choices based on your child's age and your intent. A toddler can handle two choices, a grade-school child three or four. A teenager can be given general guidelines. Offer choices so that you would be happy with whatever option your child chooses. Otherwise, you're not being fair.

For example, a parent might say, "Either eat your peas or go to your room" but when the child gets up off his chair, the parent yells, "Sit down and eat your dinner, young man!" (So that wasn't really a choice, was it?)

If your child is reluctant to choose from the options you offer, then simply ask, "Would you like to choose or shall I choose for you?"

Related Items
Excerpted with permission by New Harbinger Publications, Inc. from Kid Cooperation, How to Stop Yelling, Nagging and Pleading and Get Kids to Cooperate by (copyright 1996)

Twitter: @SuccessTV

No tweets found.

Joomla! Debug Console


Profile Information

Memory Usage

Database Queries