How to Teach Good Decision-Making

Skills to Young Children

If we want our children to make good decisions, then we need to give them options to choose from! By giving them the opportunity to make decisions, we are also making opportunity for discussion about how to make good decisions – a skill that will affect the rest of their lives!

With toddlers, it’s easy to give directives: put this on, eat this snack, pick up your toys, etc. And of course those are necessary as all toddlers need to learn the importance of obedience. But they can still be obedient when we give them options.

“Which coat should you wear outside?” as you lay out the pink, spring jacket and the blue, winter jacket. It’s cold and windy, but she chooses the pink one because it’s prettier. After she has walked down the driveway, she’s obviously freezing!

“Why did you choose the pink jacket?” you ask.
“It’s my favorite color.”
“Is it keeping you warm enough?”
“No.”
“Was that a good choice?”
“No.”
“What would have been a better choice?”

Now you can teach her to look ahead and think about how any decision you make right now will affect you later. She will probably check the outside weather before she dons the pretty pink jacket next time!

No major consequence was had during this process, but a valuable lesson was learned. With a little thinking ahead on the part of mom and dad, many of these instructive opportunities will present themselves which will prepare kids for much more difficult decisions that will have major impacts on their lives.

When children are young, their choices are more about personal preferences but, as they get older, their decisions will affect their personal growth, health, safety, and ultimately determine their quality of life.

Giselle, the main character in our story, The Choice: Black or White, is a 5th grader and was presented with two very good opportunities: take care of a neighbor’s dog for six months and earn a whoppin’ $1200 which she would use to go visit her aunt in Norway – something she has been saving for already OR joining her school’s traveling drama team and performing in other states and two other countries.

After supper that night, Giselle sat with her parents, explaining her dilemma. “I really want to go to Norway. But to travel to lots of new places, and to be on stage, and with my best friend Anna…ohhh… this is soooo hard!” she moaned. “I don’t know what to pick.”

What does Giselle choose and how does she arrive at that decision? Listen to Chapter 3 of our story, The Commitment, to find out!

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Emeth puts a primary focus on character training, believing that it’s character that will ultimately last a lifetime above all else. We create original stories and curriculum that reinforces eleven core qualities which we want all of our students to be exposed to and build into their lives. You can always access all of our current and past stories and curriculum on this page.