Prevention Strategy #6: Offer Choices

Choices are Legitimate

With increasing maturity should come increasing choices. Being able to make decisions helps develop maturity but be sure the decisions are within the limits of the children’s capacities and experience. Children should be able to participate, individually and collectively, in making decisions. Remember not to ask open ended choices that a child doesn’t really have any control over. For example, we don’t ask children if they want to wear a coat outside when it’s 30 degrees.

Incorrect Questions

  • Do you want a drink?
  • Do you want to do your homework?

When to Use Choices

Use choices only when you’re prepared to let the child choose and follow through Here’s how. “Here are your choices. Would you like (choice A) or (choice B)? You decide.” As children get older they can choose from more options.

Correct Questions

  • Do you want white milk or chocolate milk?
  • Do you want to do your homework before or after your snack?

What choices could you offer your child?


Image Source: Stick_figure_choice []

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