Age Appropriate Decisions | Day Twenty

This morning, Peter dressed himself. And I found him later, as we hurried out the door to preschool, wearing his brother’s 18-24 month shorts. Seriously? And they fit?

Super sad I didn’t get a picture. But if you can imagine the short shorts of the 80’’re pretty close. Green khakis with an elastic waist, straight cut. Short. He was showing a lotta leg.

And I let him wear them to school.

Because happy children are allowed to make age appropriate decisions
. Better to realize a small failure now, and learn from it, than to reach the teen years without any prior learning experiences.

We want our children to make choices now, in a low-risk environment. You might ask: “Today will you wear a sweater or a jacket? Why don’t you run outside and see how cold it is.” Give them food choices -- “do you want an orange or a banana for breakfast?” How about this: “Do you want to clean up your Legos first or your fort?”

This article offers a few more examples and also lists guidelines for offering appropriate choices.

As our children grow, they will get to make bigger decisions. And we, as parents, will take another step back, letting them learn from their mistakes and suffer minor consequences. We let go. They move forward.

Nora Beane encourages parents, in her article entitled “How to Teach Kids Decision Making”:
“The more chances young children have to choose from several options the more they learn the process of evaluation and choice, the sooner too they learn that with choices come results. Parents who make all the choices for their children deny them the opportunity to practice decision making in a confined and safe environment.”

What choices do you give your child[ren]? Do you need a reminder to step back and let some consequence-learning take place?

Click here to read the rest of the posts in the series, 31 Days to Happier Children.