Giving them the reins

As parents and teachers we know how important it is to be in control. We need to protect our children, guide them, and teach them the skills and knowledge they will need in the future. 

We also want to be in control because we want activities to be completed correctly and on time. We are in a hurry and, let’s face it, things get done quicker if we make the decisions and dress them, feed them, pack their lunch etc.

As much as we want to be in control, so do our children sometimes. The more we are in control, the more they will fight to have some control. These children often become domineering during playtime. They find it difficult to take turns or compromise. This has a negative effect on their social lives, which in turn influence their self-esteem.  

Children need to be given age appropriate choices. This gives them a sense of healthy control. Examples of these choices are: picking out clothes to wear, what spread they want on their sandwich, what drawing they want to make or what activity they choose to do. For small children variety can be confusing, thus give them a choice between two alternatives. 

By giving them age appropriate chores, they feel capable and in control over small responsibilities. Sometimes we need to take a deep breath, be patient and hand over a little bit of age appropriate control. 

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