Mrs. Sneha Tapadia, the CEO of Jumpstart, says:
Yes? No? Maybe? Don’t know? We are often caught up in situations or experiences in life – where we are unclear about the answers. This confusion is mainly because of our lack of decision-making ability. Our education system should empower children to make decisions as it is one of the most crucial skills required in various aspects of our lives. Indecisiveness is a bigger terror than making wrong decisions. No growth and progress can happen without taking decisions. So, in fact, decision-making ability is the ultimate power we have which helps solve problems and is a life skill which needs to be encouraged at an early age.
Like adults, even preschoolers have to make a range of decisions every day! Learning to make good decisions helps children become more independent and responsible. Their decisions could be as simple as what toy to play with, at what place and with which friend. As they get older, children make bigger decisions that often involve their family, their friends and their school work. The kind of decisions children make, impact their emotional and social development which includes their mental health and well-being, their relationships and their success. If children are not given enough opportunities to make decisions they will never learn the different virtues of ownership, failure and growth. Only when they make decisions, they learn to take responsibility of their own decision, they learn to find solutions to their failure and eventually grow and succeed.
While empowering children to make decisions we need to give them enough opportunities to understand the situations in which they need to use their decision-making ability and the possible options that can be explored. It is also essential for us to enlighten them on how their decision can affect various people and things around them.
These are simple things that can be done to encourage decision-making ability in children:
1) Allowing choices within a given set of choices. Eg: “Do you want to play with the ball or the hoolahoop?”
2) Allowing children to take small life decisions which do not impact their well being or safety. Eg: “What clothes do you want to wear today?”
3) Involving children in making few decisions of your life which makes them feel important, responsible and involved. Eg: “I want to eat healthy food like a fruit. What fruit should I eat now? Apple or orange?” Executing the decision taken by them in your life makes them feel valued and helps them in respecting decisions taken by others.
4) Encouraging children to take thoughtful and meaningful decisions by asking them a lot of open-ended questions like “What do you think could be the result of this choice? Why did you like this the best? How can it help us?”
5) Appreciating the decisions taken by children when they are correct and providing enough mental and physical support in case the decision is inappropriate will encourage and motivate children to develop decision-making ability.
Let us as primary caregivers encourage and empower our children for the ultimate power and gift of taking decisions! Happy parenting!
Mrs. Sneha Rathi, our Parent Partner, says:
Learning to make decisions is an important life skill. Just like any other skill it needs time and practice to master and refine. The family day care setting is a safe environment to rehearse. The self-confidence is more likely to occur when children are provided with an opportunity to contribute to their own experiences and learning, sharing in the decisions about what they do and how they do it.
Children can be involved in decisions about:
1. Whether to play alone or in a group, be involved in a quiet activity or to be physically active
2. The opportunity to choose those things that interest them and match their level of competence
3. What happens to them in relation to their physical care. For eg. Toileting, sleeping, eating, nappy changing
4. Whether they want to do things independently or would like some help