Why is it important to give my child choices?
By giving your child choices, you help them:
realize they have some control or power (this helps them feel good about themselves)
learn that they can make decisions and solve problems
learn to say what they want or how they feel
hear new words
learn to repeat new words
What kinds of choices can my child make?
Your child can make choices about many things, such as:
what (e.g., “What game do you want to play?”, “Do you want juice or milk?”)
when (e.g., “Do you want to phone grandma before or after lunch?”, “You can do your coloring now or later”.)
where (e.g., “You can play with your cars in the bedroom or outside.”, “Do you want to go to the park or the library?”)
how (e.g., “Would you rather hop or skip to the bathroom?”, “Do you want to color or cut paper?”)
What do I need to think about when giving my child choices?
- Only offer safe choices (e.g., “Do you want to hold this hand or the other one when we cross the street?”).
- Try not to use “if” statements (e.g., say, “You can play a quiet game in the living room or play ball outside,” instead of, “If you keep playing ball in the living room you’ll have to go outside.”).
- Only give choices that you can follow through on (e.g., if you want your child to drink milk, offer milk or nothing).
- The choice must be appropriate for your child’s age (e.g., a 2½ year old cannot decide what time to go to bed at night, although you can ask if they want to come in now or in 15 minutes).
- Wait for your child to make a choice. It may take a bit of extra time.
Be creative—give your child as many choices as possible!
Where to go get help
For more information about how speech-language pathologists and audiologists can help, contact:
- Your doctor, public health nurse, or other health provider
- Your local health centre