Friday, July 12, 2013

Decisions, Decisions!

We all make decisions each day. Some have become automatic and some take careful thought and planning—What will I wear today? What will I eat for breakfast?  Will we vacation this summer?  We have to consider the weather as we get dressed, our health and appetite as we choose foods, finances and logistics as we plan trips.

The ability to make quick and accurate decisions is known as decision speed. Young children are developing these abilities, so they cannot be expected to make quick and accurate decisions.  To develop this ability preschoolers need opportunities to make simple decisions and to understand the consequences of their decision-making processes (Lynch & Warner, 2013). 

Decision-making may seem like a skill children can learn without being given purposeful attention, yet there are benefits to making room to enhance such skills. It might be surprising to learn how easy it is to encourage decision-making.
  • Allow children to choose the pajamas they will wear.
  • Give children opportunities to vote about what they might eat for lunch or the game they will play with Mom. 
  • Hide an item in one hand and ask the child to determine which hand the object is in. To build competence, ask them to choose quickly. 
  • Play 1, 2, 4, Decide.  For example, give children a choice about the color of shirt they might wear. Then say, “One, two, three, decide.”  Slow down if the game seems to frustrate or stress the child.
Next time you are at the Museum, let the children lead the way. Allow them to decide which neighborhood to visit first, next, and last!  Give them choices that will be building blocks to future learning success! 
Resource:  Lynch, Sharon A. and Warner, L. 2013. “How Adults Foster Young Children’s Intellectual Development.” In Young Children, Vol. 68, No. 2, 86-91. Washington, DC: NAEYC.

Fun activities to help develop decision-making skills:

For information on pre-tween and tween children and decision-making:

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