Over the next few days, I will be sharing parenting tips that start with the LETTER "C".
Usually when we think of our kids misbehaving, our first thought is not, "let's give them more choices". Perhaps it should be.
If we put ourselves in our children's positions for just a minute, we can quickly see that we are always telling them what to do.
When to eat.
When to sleep.
What they can play with.
What they can't play with.
When they can go to the bathroom.
When they can go outside.
What they can do during the day.
What they can't do during the day.
What they can wear, and what they can't.
The list goes on and on. I know that if someone was telling me what to do like that, I would want to act out. I would feel frustrated and want to rebel. I would feel powerless over my own life.
Our kids struggle with those same feelings. They can feel as though they have no choices, no say, and therefore they feel like they have no control over their lives. Feeling like there is no control leads them to acting out.
Choices help our kids....
- Feel in control of their own lives.
- Improve behavior.
- Take ownership over their choices
- Makes them feel important.
- When they choose, they are more likely to follow through and own up to the choice, because they made it themselves.
- Learn to make good decisions.
We are not implying that they need to choose everything all the time, but we need to give them the opportunity to choose.
Tips for offering Choices
- Choices should be age and ability appropriate.
- Offer choices to help avoid conflict. If you know getting dressed in the morning brings contention, offer your daughter her choice of shirts. Would you like to wear the red shirt or the pink shirt?
- Don't offer a choice, when there isn't one. Brushing teeth IS NOT a choice in our house, but brushing before or after putting on pj's IS a choice.
- Offer choices when kids are being good, not just when there is misbehavior. This is really important and kids will be less likely to misbehave in the first place.
- Two choices are enough. When our daughter chooses her shirt for the day, I give her two shirts to choose from, not 4.
- Let go. Sometimes, our ego's can make things worse. It is okay to let our kids decide. Bossing them around and making all the decisions, doesn't make us better parents.
What choice can you give your child today?
Is it hard for you to offer choices?
Struggle with getting your kids to eat their veggies? Offer choices and stop the veggie battle.