Offering Choices

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We spoke earlier this week about sharing control with children by offering them choices.  Now, both choices must make you "deliriously happy." Do not offer one choice you like and one that you don't particularly prefer.  Children will quickly sense which choice you don't like and will invariably go with it (Fay & Funk, 1995).

Here are some great examples of simple choices that will influence a child's cooperation and self-esteem:

  • "Would you guys rather wear your jackets out to recess, or would you rather carry them?"
  • "This assignment needs to completed this week. Would you rather make the deadline Thursday or Friday? It's up to you."
  • "Today you have you choice of working alone or with a friend. You decide."
  • "Would you rather play by the rules, or learn about the game by watching the others play? Let me know what you think."
  • For parents, "Do you want to go to your room with your feet touching the ground or not touching the ground?" Our daughter is very familiar with this one.
More great examples of choices in the classroom: Page 154 in Teaching with Love and Logic.

Now, when you really need to make a call on something without giving kids a choice, you can say something like, "I usually give you guys lots of opportunities to choose and make your own decisions, right? I do, don't I? Now it is my turn to make a choice. I need everyone to..." Giving choices throughout the day lessens kickback when you have to make a tough/quick decision.

Offering choices sends three clear messages:
1.) I respect you.
2.) You are able to make choices that are in your best interest.
3.) You can think for yourself.

Make it a great day or not, the choice is yours!

Pick up your own copy of Teaching with Love and Logic by Fay and Funk.  You will not be disappointed.