If asked, many children would say that school is a place where they're told pretty much what to do and when to do it. In fact, though, a good part of every child's school day is spent making choices such as selecting materials from an array of options, scheduling certain activities, choosing projects and work partners, even choosing whether or not to pay attention.
Those children who know how to make the most responsible choices become the best learners and have the most school success.
HOME PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
Children need practical experience making choices. Giving your child the opportunity to make choices at home can in turn make many important contributions to your child's development:
* A bolstered self image. Being allowed choices tells your child that you trust his or her judgement.
* A feeling of independence. Choice gives your child growing control over his or her life.
* A sense of personal responsibility. If your child has had a chance to choose a chore, the job will be seen as his or hers. But a task assigned by you may be seen as remaining your responsibility.
What kind of choices is your child making now-leisure activities, clothes for the day, snacks, TV shows, purchases with personal funds? Have you asked your child's help occasionally with certain choices on behalf of the whole family-choosing between products at the market, or indicating which of several proposed plans might be best for a family outing?
Such choices mean carefully considering the feelings of others, which is an important part of being a responsible choice maker. If your child isn't ready for the full responsibility of choosing, he or she still will benefit from participating in the choice making discussions.
YOU CAN HELP
Though you want your child to feel the independence that choice making brings, you have a part to play in the process. For example, you can help your child check out situations to see whether they call for quick choices or more careful deliberation:
"Could you be happy with either choice?
"Will you be locking yourself into this choice for a while?"
"Will you have a chance to choose again soon?"
"What kinds of problems might you have if you choose this option instead of that one?"
Let your child see that you, too, struggle with choices, that you make both good and not so good choices. And when you feel the need to ask for opinions of others- as all good choice makers do- include your child among your advisors.
Shared from The Learning Letter