Toddlers have a mind of their own, their brain is developing fast, they are learning, they are curious and adventurous! That means, at any given time, they have an idea of what they want to wear, what games they want to play and what they would like to eat. The problem starts when we make choices for them. That’s where the tantrums begin. Giving toddlers choices is a great way of bonding with your little one and ensuring positive and progressive parenting.
Give them at least two choices
For example during lunchtime, you could ask “would you like some fruit or a sandwich”. When you give two choices, you have tricked the toddler, because their brain instantly becomes absorbed with those two options only and she becomes unaware of anything else beyond that, she will weigh them and makes a decision based on which is the better of the two. This is way better than giving them one option which they may reject and throw a tantrum. It certainly is also wiser than giving a toddler many choices, for example which colour dress to wear, which may cause indecision, confusion and leave you with an upturned wardrobe.
Choices for Positive guidance
Toddlers like to feel that they are in control. When you ask a child, “Would you like an apple or a banana?” It’s a perfect disguise for letting them have your way! While they may feel that the choice was theirs, or they are in control of what they eat, in reality it was your choice for them. You are choosing that they have a fruit. You are not giving candy as an option. Or you could ask, “Would you like the pink jacket or the yellow jersey?”, whether they are aware or not, you are making a decision for them to be warm, or “Which book would you like to look at?”, you have already decided they would rather be reading than watching TV for instance. Part of the power of being a parent is positive guidance, and in a huge way, you are helping them become good decision makers in future.
Giving choices shows you respect them
Giving a toddler a choice means you recognise that they have feelings, thoughts, opinions and preferences. That is a great sign of respect for another human being and they will in turn reciprocate the same feelings toward you and you will find in most instances, you have a toddler that co-operates with you.
A sense of Freedom
A child who grows up in an environment that allows them to choose even the most basic things like what game to play or what to have for desert, is a child who develops a great sense of freedom and individuality, develops ownership and responsibility and gives them an opportunity to use their voices. This can boost their creativity, mental capacity and problem solving skills. Making choices for your toddler boxes them and instils in them co-dependence.