Part of learning how to navigate the world is to make decisions. This is because if decisions are not made, there can be no forward progress in life. Because of this, toddlers should be taught how to make not only decisions but good decisions so that they can determine what the possible outcomes will be before committing to one choice. Many times parents do not think their toddlers are capable of making decisions. And this can lead to a power struggle between parents and toddlers.
But by seeing why it is important to help toddlers make decisions and how to help them make good ones, parents are doing both themselves and their little ones a favor in the long run.
Many times toddlers are unable to make decisions because they have not been given the tools to do so. As such, they find themselves stuck when asked to choose because they believe that their parents will make all the decision for them. And while making decisions for toddlers can make life easier in the short term or when short on time, it can make things more difficult in the future.
This is why toddlers should have choices from as early an age as possible, so they do not freeze when a decision-making opportunity comes their way.
Here is why and how to teach your toddler good decision-making skills.
Why Toddlers Should Make Decisions
Parents may think that toddlers are too young to make decisions of their own. But, there are major benefits to allowing toddlers to make choices that affect them only in positive ways as they are learning the importance of decision-making skills.
According to The Asian Parentthe benefits of toddlers making decisions for themselves include:
- Decreasing the incidents of tantrums
- Boosts confidence
- Makes them realize they can contribute to the household
- Teaches them responsibility
- Allows for abstract thinking
- Teaches problem-solving skills
With all the benefits that come from allowing toddlers to make decisions, the sooner that they are allowed to participate in the process of doing so, the better off they are.
Benefits Of Giving Toddlers Choices
Part of the decision-making process is giving toddlers choices. And by giving them choices that are all safe and do not affect the trajectory of the day, toddlers learn what it is to make decisions.
According to the Child Mind Institutein the early days of decision-making, giving toddlers two choices from which to make a decision helps them to understand how decisions affect them.
It can be something as simple as deciding which outfit to wear, which snack to have, or which toy to play with. All of which are big decisions to make for toddlers.
When parents help toddlers to begin their decision-making journey, they are instilling self-confidence in them that will only help them to make more difficult decisions as they age, per the publication.
This is a omething that would not be possible if there were not a foundation built of making not only decisions but good decisions while young.
How To Help Toddlers Make Good Decisions
The process of helping toddlers to make good decisions does not have to be difficult. It just takes patience on the part of parents and practice on behalf of toddlers to make this happen.
According to the Pre-K Pagessome ways to help toddlers make good decisions include:
- Offering toddlers small choices
- Explain the process of decision-making when parents make decisions
- Use inviting statements rather than demands so that toddlers feel they have a choice about what is being asked of them
- Do not use threats to get toddlers to make decisions
- Do not engage in power struggles
By teaching toddlers these tools, they begin to understand how good decisions are made. A trait that will help them during childhood and carry them far in life.
What Happens If Toddlers Do Not Get To Make Decisions
If toddlers are never allowed to participate in the decision-making process, then they never learn from mistakes of poor decisions. This is something that is just as important to development as the decision-making process itself.
According to Today’s Family, allowing toddlers to make decisions will help them learn that not all choices made are the best ones. And that when this happens, there are natural consequences that occur.
This does not mean allowing toddlers to put themselves in danger or make choices that cause a negative impact on some portion of their lives. Per the publication, it can simply be letting them choose between two destinations they enjoy going to.
And, if they are upset at the end of the day by their choice, then toddlers learn that there may be negative consequences for their choices because they had to give up one location for the other. They cannot be both places at one time and that means making the tough choice of selecting one thing over another.
The sooner that toddlers are included in the decisions that affect their lives, the better adept they become at making tougher decisions as they age. And if taught properly to weigh pros and cons when young, good decisions will be made for a lifetime.
Source: Child Mind Institute, The Asian Parent, Pre-K Pages, Today’s Family