Choice-making is an important skill for kids to learn, it can be a great tool to prevent challenging behavior, and it can give kids who love their independence some autonomy. HOWEVER…
We can put ourselves into some sticky situations when we present something to our kids or students as a choice, and it’s NOT actually a choice.
Here’s some examples: “Do you want to put your shoes on?” (If you’re rushing out the door, this is more than likely not a choice.) “Are you ready to stop yelling at me?” (Definitely not a choice.)
Instead, try rephrasing, “It’s time to put shoes on. Which shoes would you like to wear?” or
“You can use kind words to tell me what you want.” The examples above give too much opportunity for kids to say NO WAY!
That said, there are many opportunities for kids to make choices about things that are not pressing matters, and you get to choose what choices your kids can make! Allow them to choose things that are truly choices and find out what they like. This can be which type of shoes to wear, which bowl to eat cereal out of, what song to listen to in the car, which jacket to wear, coloring with markers or crayons, what to eat for lunch, and so on.
Your little humans are growing and learning about themselves and the world around them. They need you to teach them to make choices and be independent, within the boundaries that come with being a kid. Give them choices that are truly choices, and enjoy learning more about them this week!
Article written by:
Betsie Johnson, M.Ed, BCBA, LBA
Senior Behavior Analyst
Project Play Therapy
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