How to Spark It

Thu, 30 Sep, 2021

Why and How to Teach Decision-Making Skills to Young Kids?

Good or bad decisions affect us all. It would be wise to teach good decision-making skills to kids from a young age. It will empower them, teach responsibility, nurture creativity, and foster a sense of value. Let’s explore why teaching decision-making is important for kids.

What is Decision Making?

Decision-making involves choosing a course of action from possible choices and arriving at a solution for a given problem.

Imparting this skill to kids at a young age will improve their analytical and critical thinking. Good decision-making will lead to good mental health and promote physical and social well-being of the kids. It’ll make them responsible, independent and confident.

Importance of Decision Making for Kids

If you observe, you’ll realise that kids make decisions all the time, but most of them are based on emotions or fear. Instead, we must teach them to make thoughtful choices.

We need to hone their critical and creative thinking skills from a young age. Decision-making is a complex process that takes practice and improves with experience.

Start with letting them make small choices that will teach them to think ahead. With each right decision, they will grow to be a confident and smart kid who is prepared to make significant life choices.

5 Practical Tips to Help Kids Develop Good Decision–Making Skills

  1. Encourage goal setting

    Teaching kids to set SMART goals from a young age will instil self-awareness and confidence. It will help the kids focus on finding solutions that align with their goals. Start with something simple and help them arrive at a decision that will help them achieve their goals.

  2. Make questions that make them think

    Asking thoughtful questions will help kids hone decision-making skills. Questions like ‘why do think that’s the best choice’, or ‘why would the first option work better than others’, will make them think deeply about all aspects of their decision.• Give them choices

  3. Give them choices

    Consider these two questions: “Which sweater do you want to wear today?” and “Do you want the red sweater or the black one?”

    The first question requires the kids to choose from numerous options which can overwhelm them. The second question is simpler and clearer, thus allowing them to decide on the choices successfully. Ensure you present situations that will set them up for success when you start teaching this skill.

  4. Practice age-appropriate decision-making skills

    Be mindful about teaching age-appropriate decision-making skills. When they are toddlers, ask them to choose between just two simple things like which coloured socks or shoes they want to wear.

    As they grow older, you can ask them to pick an extra choice of clothing until they can put together an entire outfit together. Practising making good choices and taking small steps from a young age helps develop their reasoning skills.

  5. Include them in budgeting decisions

    Budgeting shouldn’t be an ‘adult skill’. Teach it to your school-going kids by giving an allowance and enabling them to decide how to spend it wisely.

    For instance, if they are to spend the allowance on snacks for the week, they should be able to make budgeting decisions to ensure the allowance lasts them through the week. If they spend it all in two days, they cannot have extra money.

    Budgeting decisions will teach them how to make smart decisions that will benefit them.

3 Fun Games That Promote Good Decision-Making

Kids will be more receptive when you teach important skills through games. Since they will be able to see the results of their decisions in real-time based on whether they win or lose, they will learn better.

  1. Musical Chairs

    As fun as musical chairs can be, it is definitely a game that teaches kids to make fast, on-the-spot decisions. If they make the right choice, they will still be in the game, or they are out. Simple!

  2. Tic Tac Toe

    Also known as naughts and crosses, this is a great game for kids to practice decision-making. This game requires the kid to focus on winning and keeping an eye on the opponent to stop them from getting three naughts or crosses in a row. It requires concentration and practice, but kids will enjoy this game once they get the hang of it.

  3. Hide and Seek

    Kids already know and love hide and seek. So why not turn it into one of the fun decision-making activities? Add new rules to the game, like the kids cannot hide in the same place twice or limiting the areas to hide. This will compel the kids to think of new hiding places continually or how to ‘hide better’ in the same areas. The wrong choice will get them caught.

Kids will make mistakes, so don’t pressure to always make the right decision when practising. Help them learn from their mistakes and teach them not to repeat them. With good decision-making ability, kids will be able to make positive life choices as they grow.