Giving Children Choices Essay Example
It would be wise to avoid a struggle with a child because there is no benefit for the child. If you engage in a struggle, a child will associate negative feelings with the routine and that would overshadow any opportunity for development, such as building on their self-control and self-esteem. Any stress or anxiety felt as a result of a power struggle would take away from a child’s sense of security and stability. Any frustration or anger would undermine any learning opportunities. Often, just giving the child a choice in the situation can quickly resolve things and “… work instead toward the more worthwhile goals of helping the children become competent, independent people…” (Weissman & Hendrick, 2014, p.202).
“Routines, … are an important part of a child’s day. If they are handled well, they can contribute to both the physical health and the emotional well-being of young children.”(Weissman & Hendrick, 2014, p.202). As an educator, your goal is to empower not overpower. If there’s a situation such as a child is refusing to get ready to go outside, calmly state that everyone is getting dressed because it’s time to go outside. It’s not you telling them what to do, it’s that everyone is just following the routine. Being calm and straightforward, you show controlling emotions in order to get things done. Focusing on the routine reinforces feelings of stability and security they gain from being consistent in following it through.
Offering the child a choice, i.e. putting on their coat or shoes first and asking if they would like help, will give them some control as well as involve them to focus on the process of getting through the routine. It’s also important to acknowledge what a child is feeling and experiencing, i.e. they might be frustrated that they can’t zip up their coat. Saying “Zippers are tricky, let’s try it together”, will encourage them to work through the difficulty and ease frustrations. Furthermore, talking about what they will do outside once dressed will emphasize the reason for following through and put focus on positive feelings associated with that routine.
Avoiding struggles and, instead, guiding a child through the task will help them learn that their participation and effort resulted in a positive outcome, ultimately making progress in their development.