7 Ways to help your child be a good decision-maker and not stay confused!

how kids can decide by themselves- Parenting resources by ZenParent

Some children are very incisive in their decision making. I have seen kids who would walk into a toy store and make a clear decision on what they want to buy. Then there are kids who are completely foxed by which flavour of ice cream to pick at the ice cream store. While it is true that some of these are personality traits, decision making can also be developed as a skill .Here are a few things you can do to build the decision making skill in your child:

1. Allow Mistakes: While it may be the easiest thing to do to make the decision for your child as they stand fumbling around, do not jump in. Let them make mistakes and learn from those mistakes. As they say, success never teaches you anything. But failure does, and what better place to fail than under your supervision!

2. Give them Practice: If your child is already in the habit of asking you what to do about everything, instead of answering impulsively, turn the question back at them and ask them “what would you do”. My tween daughter struggles to make buying decisions and she would constantly ask me to make the decision– So I give her the budget and I walk out of the store and wait outside.

child unable to take decisions- Parenting resources by ZenParent

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3. Nudge them: If you find that your child is really conflicted and confused, you can help them by narrowing down their choices. The younger they are, the lesser the  number of choices they can deal with. List the pros and cons for each of the choices they have and finally let them make the decision.

4. Play Games: We do this often at our house because it is great fun. When we are driving some place and we are chatting with the kids, we play the game “What would you do if…..” This encourages your child to think while playing a fun game. Helps them get into the practice of thinking through options and sorting it out in their heads.

5. Write it down: When your child is older and trying to make an important decision, encourage them to write down the problem and list the pros and cos. Writing always gives greater clarity of thought. It is a good tool for them to practice at home.

help your kid make decisions- Parenting resources by ZenParent

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6. Ease the pressure: Sometimes children feel overwhelmed to make a decision because they think every decision is a big deal. If they are struggling to decide which flavour of ice cream to order, tell them you will always come back and they can try another flavour next time. If they are at a store, find out about the store’s return policy and tell them that they can return it. But this can be a slippery slope. If your child slips into a habit of returning everything then you may want to cut out the option for him/her.

7. Hover: While it is true that you should not be making the decision for your child, hover in the background- make them feel supported- Let them know that you are there for them if needed . “Attached detachment” as the Bhagavat Gita says 🙂

Click here to know how non-verbal communication with your kids help you strengthen your bond with them as a parent.

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