Asking your child to make a decision can be overwhelming for everyone involved.
But when you give them the right tools, you can help them make better choices.
Why Is It Important to Teach Kids Decision Making Skills?
Our children are faced with decisions every day. Some of their choices have little to no effect, while others can have a huge impact.
Teaching this important life skill early on will help your kids with every decision they make in the future. And remember, those decisions will only get harder as they get older.
Your children will become more accountable for their actions and will be able to understand the connection between their choices and the consequences that result from them.
At What Age Should Kids Practice Making Decisions?
You may be surprised to learn how early decision-making skills can be taught.
A great time to start practicing this important skill is when your child is between the ages of 3 and 5. Preschool- and kindergarten-aged kids are at a great age to learn about problem solving, critical thinking, and creativity.
At this stage, their choices will mostly be about their personal preferences. As they get older, those decisions will become focused on their safety and their lifestyle.
How to Teach Decision Making Skills: 8 Tips
Many parents struggle with the best way to teach their children how to make the best decision possible. When teaching your child how to make a decision, these 8 tips will help.
- Talk with your child – Open communication is extremely important, even when your child is young, but especially as they get older. Creating a strong line of communication early on will help you get to know your child better and help you better predict the decisions they might make.
- Let them make mistakes – It’s easy to shield our children from any negative outcomes. However, allowing them to make mistakes, and finding out what happens as a result, is the best way to teach them how to think ahead.
- Show them the consequences – The consequences of our decisions can sometimes seem too “adult” for our kids to learn about. But giving your child some real-life examples about what could happen if they make certain decisions can sometimes be the best teacher.
- Embrace their interests – As a parent, it’s important to learn about your child’s interests. By doing so, you can help them relate to people they know who share those interests as well and learn how they made good decisions to get them to where they are today.
- Help them know themselves – Our children need to know what their strengths and weaknesses are. By doing so, they can then make the best choices based on their abilities.
- Get involved – This tip is for both you and your child. Encourage your child to get involved in activities that will encourage decision making. As a parent, you can get involved with those activities as well so that you can be there for them when they need you.
- Praise them – Don’t be afraid to pile on the praise. Letting them know when they made a good decision can have a much bigger impact than telling them when they made a poor one.
- Be the example – We know we are our child’s best example. Allow your child to see how you make decisions and how you handle the situation when things don’t go as planned.
5 Decision Making Activities for Kids
When helping your child learn how to make a decision, the key is to keep it simple and fun!
- Board games – A simple board game or card game is not only entertaining, but provides multiple opportunities to make decisions. The more steps involved the better. They are also learning how to incorporate decision making with a set of rules.
- Outdoor games – Getting your child involved in playground games or organized group sports or activities help them to make rapid-fire decisions. It can be a simple game of tag or hide and seek. Or it can be a more complicated game such as soccer or basketball.
- Role playing – Involving some dramatic play can help your child connect and engage, develop empathy, and be able to put themselves in someone else’s shoes. It’s a fun way to work through problems and make decisions.
- Books – Books can encourage a child’s decision-making abilities. Read with your child and talk about the different characters and situations. What decisions did they make and what was the outcome? Ask them how they might have solved a problem or if they would have done something differently.
- Friendly debate – Get involved in a little friendly debate to encourage critical thinking. Listen to a news story or read an article out loud together and then let your child share their opinion. Show them that it’s okay to disagree and that they can make their own opinions that will affect their decisions.
By teaching your kids the decision-making process, and incorporating these 5 decision making activities, you will help them to make more responsible decisions now and in the years to come. Better still, you will transform what used to be a stressful process into one that is more enjoyable.
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