Allowing Children Choices
by Vicki Lansky
Allowing children to make choices is a very effective way to get children to cooperate.
- When a child balks, give him or her a legitimate choice, such as "You may sit at the table and eat your dinner or you may get down. Which do you choose?" This is different than a threat of, "If you don't eat your dinner, you're going to have to leave the table." Do you see the difference?
- Children can make choices about many things, and the earlier you get into the habit of positioning choices, the happier everyone will be. Choices can be made between wearing this shirt or that one, playing with this toy or that one, sitting in this chair or that one, putting on the red gloves or the green gloves, or do you want one piece of toast or two pieces?
- Anyone, including children, will do anything more willingly if they have some say so in the matter. Giving choices allows a child to decide what he or she is going to do. It helps develop self-control, judgment, initiative, and cooperation.
Well, how about it? Do you want to try this technique or the most traditional one of threats? Which do you choose?
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Last modified: Oct 24, 1995