Greystone House Montessori Schools Houston, Texas. Child care Montessori provider in Champions, The Woodlands, Spring Texas Greystone House Montessori Schools Houston
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THE POWER OF CHOICE
Would you like to know how to get your children to willingly cooperate? Would you like to eliminate many of your daily battles? Would it be even better if during the process you could teach your kids valuable life skills? So would you like to win the lottery?

During a typical day there are so many things we must get our children to do and so many things we must stop them from doing that we begin to sound like a drill sergeant. “Get up.” “Get dressed.” “Don’t dawdle.” “Say thank-you.” “Eat.” “Stop that.”

An effective way to achieve results while allowing our children to learn self-discipline and develop good decision-making skills is packed into one word: choice. When a child has choice, it puts her in control. It also puts her in a situation where she can begin to understand the consequences of her choices. A toddler can handle two choices. Older children can handle more: before dinner, after dinner, or in the morning; wear your coat, carry it, or put on a sweatshirt. The critical thing to remember when you give a choice is that every alternative you give must be equally acceptable to you. Remember also:

• Be specific. If you ask, “What do you want for breakfast?” and your child says “pizza”, it can start a battle. Instead, offer options that are all acceptable to you, “Toast, cereal, or waffles?” (Incidentally, pizza is a totally acceptable breakfast.)

• Use time as a choice. When there is only one acceptable choice, you can use time or sequence as the choice. Now or in 10 minutes? Do you want to put up your books or your toys first?

• If your child won’t choose, you do it. There are two paths here. “Do you want orange juice or apple juice?” can go to “No juice”. “White shirt or pink shirt?” can go to parent’s choice and your preschooler’s being carried out the door if it’s a matter of needing to leave in the morning. Either of these scenarios must be carried out without nagging or yelling.

As children learn to make simple choices, they get the practice required to make bigger choices: two class T-shirts or a sweatshirt? This gives them the ability to make even bigger, more important decisions; save or spend? beer or soda? study or fail? Giving your child a choice is a peaceful way to encourage his cooperation while avoiding the power struggle that so often erupts when orders are given. When a child chooses his own plan of action, he is more likely to follow through with a pleasant attitude and to learn decision-making skills that he will carry with him into adulthood. It’s also good practice for you to learn to accept your child’s choices.

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