Give Children Choices Effectively

You want to know the secret of how to end conflicts of power and quench a revolt? Offer them choices. Choices work wonder for everyone, including children. But parents often have problem deciding what choices to lay open in front of kids. Here’s how you too can use choices appropriately for your kids.

Child eating peach

No choice? Then don’t offer any!

Instead of asking a children if they want to take a medicine, parents should tell them that they “need” to take their medicine and offer them the choice of taking a chewable one or a liquid one. You can also ask them their preference of whether they want the medicine before or after their meal. Another way to offer them a choice is to ask them what drink they would like to swallow the medicine with. These choices make it easier for the child to accept their medicine.

But you don’t have to go for all the choices listed here. The basic idea here is that your offer of choices to your child should convey the idea that they have some form of control over their lives. This way, they don’t develop rebellious thoughts and grudges when they are asked to do something they “have” to do, like taking a medicine.

Bottom line is that, if the child doesn’t have a choice of doing something, the parent should at least let them choose HOW or WHEN they want to do it.

Lay your terms

That’s the absolutely minimum demand that you have and that cannot be negotiated. Still, try to offer choices within those boundaries. These limits are related to health, safety, rules, rights and such concepts. These are things you NEED to control.

Ask the child for choices

Ask them what they want for dinner; be creative in your approach and ask them if they have something delicious in their mind. But before offering this critical choice, make sure to lay out the terms first (unless of course there are no restrictions). Never force your child to pick something you want to make. If the child chooses a food that meets your restrictions, then it is perfect. Everyone wins and is happy.

The choices should respect both parent and child

Parents should not threaten their children by saying something like, “Quit watching TV, or no TV for the week.” This isn’t really a justified choice. An equally respectful choice would be something like, “Either keep watching TV, or play with the new toy that I bought you. The decision is yours.” Again, either way the child would be happy. You are just making sure that your child isn’t watching too much TV.

Random Solutions:

  • If you offer your child either yoghurt or apple juice and they want both, ask which one they would like first.
  • If a child keeps on being irksome, give them the choice of stopping by themselves or your having to take an action which they might not like.
  • If a child is disappointed with one of their choices, support them and tell them that they have the choice of going for something else next time.

Further Options for Parents

Sometimes parents get carried away with winning every time they offer choices within boundaries that they constantly use it. But these parents often forget that there are situations when there are other options. You shouldn’t go over the limit and overuse choices. Stay within rational limits and have fun.

Source of the image: Photl.

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