Offering Kids Choices

A Feeling of Control

All human beings need to feel as if they have power over themselves and their lives. We cannot expect kids to be totally autonomous, of course, since they are small and unable of many things adults can do. Teacher training believed that at the second level of psychosocial development, beginning soon after one year of age, young kids must resolve the difference between independence and shame and hesitation. Kids who do not develop independence are responsible to remain reliant on adults or to be overly inclined by peers. Preschool teacher training called this fact “mistaken behaviors”. Kids who fall into “mistaken behaviors” may feel uncertain of their abilities, and be incapable to take the risks that lead to real learning or challenge themselves to attain at ever higher levels. In addition, they may feel antagonism toward adults who allow them little freedom to choose. Learning to be independent and autonomous takes time and practice. When we offer kids choices, we are allowing them to practice the skills of independence and responsibility, while we guard their health and safety by controlling and monitoring the options.

Building Self-Esteem

Being independent and in control feels good – only watch the face of a child who has just learned to walk. Confidence grows when we effectively do things for ourselves. Kids can handle mistakes or failure with calmness and good wit when they feel good about themselves. A kid who has a solid sense of self-esteem can make a poor decision, appraise it calmly, rethink the situation, and make a different choice.

Cognitive Development

Making choices is part of problem solving. When given choices, kids broaden their minds and create new and exceptional combinations of ideas and materials. Before they can make sensible choices, however, kids need to learn the skills of convergent thinking, knowing the right answer as well as divergent thinking, seeing many feasible answers. If we expect teenagers to make healthful choices about vital issues such as sexual activity or the use of alcohol or illegal drugs, we must permit them many opportunities in their early years to make important choices.

Moral Development

In a classroom based on early childhood education principles, everyone shares responsibility for decision making. By allowing kids to decide what goes on in a room, the teacher encourages their self-regulation. If they have opportunities to make their own choices and feel dominant every day, they will have no need to use power over others or to break rules behind the teacher’s back. When their needs are respected, it is easier for kids to respect others’ wishes. As kids learn to make decisions for them and to develop independence, they learn to act decently and to take the needs of others into consideration when making choices.

Minimizing Conflicts

One of the effects of offering kids choices throughout the day is the reduction of differences among kids and between kids and adults. When adults direct an infant’s behavior most of the day, the infant’s natural desire to be autonomous is let down and feelings of bitterness or revolt may arise. Adults can understand this aggravation if they think about having a job in which they are told every little thing to do, even when to use the toilet or get a drink of water. Most of us would either criticize or get another job. Kids have no choice about going to school or child care; they cannot leave an unhappy situation. When they fight back, they are labeled as having “behavior problems.” If we treat kids with the same esteem we adults expect and realize that each kid has individual needs and happiness, we will provide them with the opportunities to choose what is best for them at any given time.

Maximizing Learning

Kids feel more dedicated to an activity they have chosen themselves. Therefore, their concentration span will likely be longer if they choose an activity than if they work at a task allocated by the teacher. Making choices helps kids learn perseverance and task completion.

How to Offer Choices suggested by Teacher Training Course in Mumbai

Choices offered to young kids must be lawful and meaningful to them and tolerable to adults.

Limiting choices for young kids helps them select.

Making direct suggestions may help the shy kid to make a choice. Kids whose parents make decisions for them may be besieged by a situation in which they are now likely to choose for themselves. They need time, support, and practice as well as tolerant teachers to help them learn this skill. By offering kids choices we are not giving them total control of the classroom or the curriculum. Since kids may choose only from the alternatives offered, the teacher maintains control of what the options are.

No Choice Situations

Each of us must deal with situations in which we have no choice. We are required to obey laws, for instance. Kids, too, must learn that from time to time they have a choice. Issues of security allow no scope for individual preference. When kids know they will be given enough opportunities to choose for themselves, they are keener to believe those vital “no choice” decisions adults must make for them.


Our task is to provide kids with suitable, healthful options and help them to make and believe their choices. In this way, we are developing confident, autonomous kids who feel in control of themselves.


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