Sooner or later, your child will be faced with a choice that can’t be made easily. They will have to assess other options that are at their disposal and then make their pick. But the way they analyse these options is a skill that can be acquired and learned, and an important skill, at that. The choice they make will have consequences, so it is extremely important that the analysis is conducted properly. Developed decision-making skills will serve children throughout their lives, especially during the transition into adulthood, so it’s important to nurture them, and there are many different ways to do that.
A city like Sydney offers a lot of options to its inhabitants, both adults and children. And you can’t experience all of them at once, which means some choices have to be made. However, you as a parent don’t have to make all the decisions for your child. It’s actually quite healthy for them to let them choose for themselves every now and again. That’s how they learn what needs to be considered when making a decision. What you can do is provide them with the right environment, like the one in MindChamps’ childcare in Cherrybrook, give them advice on what needs to be considered and include them in your decision-making process. There are plenty of excellent exercises for that, as well as some general tips that should be adhered to. Things like:
Providing a safe setting
You don’t want your child to be put under enormous pressure when they have to choose something, but you shouldn’t shield them from the consequences of their actions, either. Places that are busy and too crowded aren’t the places in which you want your child to practice their decision-making skills, but places like childcare centres are. Suppose you’re taking your Champ to a MindChamps’ childcare centre, you can let them choose which route to take, what to wear or something like that. Whatever happens after that or because of that will be something they have to accept. It is also important that a childcare centre recognizes the importance of this skill (as the aforementioned childcare in Cherrybrook does) and regularly provides exercises to boost it.
Including them in everyday family decisions
Which pot to buy? What should we eat for lunch? Where should we go this weekend? Children can participate in this kind of decisions easily, and a great way to help them hone their decision-making skills is to ask them to elaborate their choices. Then you can analyse with them all the pros and cons of their choice and reach some kind of conclusion. Also, children will benefit greatly from just watching adults debate an issue, so feel free to enter a discussion with your partner about something in front of them. Obviously, this shouldn’t be aggressive in any way, just a reasonable and well-intentioned conversation between two adults.
Teach them to give themselves time to think
Children can quickly jump to conclusions, something that can be detrimental to their decision-making process. Teach them to take a moment and evaluate the situation in front of them by asking themselves questions like “What are my options?” and “Why is this option the best one?”. They should also think about the consequences the action they choose will have. Once they make a choice, it is important that they analyse what that choice resulted in. “Was it possible to make a better choice?” is always a good question to ask when all is said and done.
Obviously, developing decision-making skills is not easy, but it can be used to help children grow in several different ways. MindChamps childcare centres see this as an opportunity to teach their Champs a variety of values such as self-reflection and acknowledgement of others. They also emphasize that setbacks are something that can be learned from, which makes mistakes in the decision-making process an important aspect of every child’s development. Obviously, this is all done in an environment that is perfectly safe but which still allows for the mistakes to be meaningful.
Children at this stage need to be stimulated in many different ways so that different aspects of their mind can develop. This is why decision-making skills are so important – they can boost your child’s intellectual, social, emotional and even sensory part of the brain. Children will also learn that listening to adult advice pays off because adults have the necessary experience and have already made all the decisions the little ones are facing. And by taking into consideration the wishes and suggestions of their peers, they will foster social connections in their early learning centres and create bonds that may last them a lifetime.