I have heard both sides of this argument. My husband doesn’t like to give the little ones many options, in fact – he’s more inclined to say this is how it is and this is what you get rather than allowing them any independence. Being a parent to a toddler isn’t easy, especially when your little one is determined to explore the world at large at high speed.
I like to give them choices, particularly because it offers them a measure of control that they can then us to apply to other problem solving techniques later in life. Here are a few tips to help you guide the choices you can offer your child and most of these are based on my own personal experience.
- When you’re shopping, your child will likely want to get something and ask you for everything in sight, remind them to wait until the end so they get to know all their options before they settle on one thing
- If you want to buy your child something, tell them they can choose one thing and on thing only
- Chop down on confusing them by presenting them with only two or three choices at most to choose from
- Trimming their choices down is important especially when it comes to food or you could be hours at making something they then don’t want to eat – for example – at lunch time you may offer Spaghetti O’s or a sandwich, this lets them choose what they want most from those options
- Never reward demanding behavior, you can use choices and options as a way to teach manners – when your child cannot ask or they become grabby and demanding, you can remind them that they are choosing to get nothing – this can be a very effective deterrent
- Recognize that there are not always occasions where they get to choose and try to avoid setting precedents such as a toy on every outing or a piece of candy at every grocery store visit, etc
- Be sure to also emphasize that you are the parent, it is your final decision no matter what their choice is
How do you help your toddler cope with choices?