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Bob the Builder or Thomas the tank engine? Give your kids a choice and it will be your way.

kidsparentschild2 years3 yearsFeuilletonchildrenkidLenka Míkovcová1 yearmotivationRespect and be Respected0 yearcooperationresponsibilitychoiceexplainBob the BuilderreasonThomas the tank enginesocksslippersbalancefreedomtrust

Kryštof (2,5 year old) would prefer to run around naked or at least without socks. In the summer, this doesn’t matter, but in the winter it’s not very suitable even at home… He will put on a shirt, underwear even pants without a problem, but we have discussions about socks. Or we did until we started giving Kryštof a choice. “Will you put on the socks with Bob the Builder or Thomas the tank engine?” or “The red fluffy ones or the green ones with paws?” Surprisingly “No” wasn’t the answer, but a brief thought about preference and then the putting on of socks.

We started doing this every time when we wanted to avoid “No” for an answer. That is why we didn’t ask if Kryštof wants to do it, but rather a choice in what way or at what time he wants to do it. For example: “Will we go outside right away or after the snack? Do you want to go on your motorcycle or on your pushbike? Are you taking your hat or your balaclava? Do you want a green or a yellow cup of tea? Will you brush your teeth now or after the bedtime story? ….”

This theory is to give the child a choice so he has a feeling of making the choice himself, but not give him too much space which would confuse him or which he could “process” to your disadvantage :-).

PS: We try to strike a delicate balance, which would support their free choice and not be manipulative. So we try to avoid a situation such as, “Will you get into the car alone or should I put you in there?”

At one point you are confronted by the statement, that they don‘t want any socks. Then is time to explain the reasons to wear socks and begin to trust the choice of your child. You can also find out that socks make him too hot or that the socks are too tight and that he/she would rather put on some slippers….

1st March 2011

Author: Lenka Míkovcová

Translation: Marek Hubbell

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