The Importance of Teaching Good Decision-Making

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Making choices and decisions are an everyday part of life. Our decisions determine the way our lives evolve. So, it is difficult to understand why many individuals reach adulthood and have not mastered decision-making. Why? This issue amplifies the importance of teaching children decision-making skills at an early age.

Often important choices are made for many children. Decision making is one of the most important skills children need in order to develop into mature adults. The decisions children make dictate the path their lives will take.

Toddlers need to be given precise options. For example, offer the child a choice with very few options. “Do you want cereal or eggs; milk or water?” “Do you want to wear the red shirt or the blue shirt with your black pants?” This allows the child to have a voice in making decisions that fit into your selections. For older children, you can increase the number of choices.

The Carrie Flower Curriculum provides a variety of scenarios, which can be selected based on a child’s developmental level. The activity integrates hand puppets, for children to role play their decision-making skills.

Children will be challenged to do the following:

    a. What is the problem?

   b. What are the choices you have?

   c. What do you think the consequences of your choices will be for yourself and others who are involved?

   d. What values do you need to consider? (i.e. honesty, fairness, kindness, justice, trustworthiness self-respect, etc.)

   e. How do you feel about the situation?

   f. Is there anything else you need to learn about it?

   g. Do you think you will need to ask for help? If so, who will you ask?

   h. What is your decision?

   i. Do you think you made the right decision? Why?

Have students:

1.    Divide into small groups and develop an answer for each question.

2.   Provide time for each group to report on their answers.

3.   Have each group defend their response and discuss why they chose their answer.

4.   Foster discussion with students throughout the process.

5.   Have students come to a consensus regarding their answers by developing a classroom answer, and post it in the classroom for future discussion.

6.   Reinforce good decisions when evidenced by various groups.

Always be available for a child to talk about an issue or problem arising from a decision, and encourage and lend support, particularly if they make a poor decision. Making some bad decisions is part of the maturation process.

No one is likely to make all good choices in life. However, developing decision-making skills will help to make the important choices easier. Good decision-making is one of the most important life skills children need to begin learning at an early age.

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Until Next Time!  Dr. G.