The ability to make sound decisions isn't something we typically think to teach our children. In fact, parents tend to make a lot of decisions for their children, from the food they eat to the clothes they wear and everything else in between. It's only natural to want to help our children (and to speed up the decision-making process at times). So how can you help improve their decision-making skills? By taking a step back and letting them make their own decisions. Trust us; it will help them more in the long run.
Decisions impact our mental health and wellbeing, relationships, and job success — in other words, all areas of our lives. The first step towards developing decision-making skills is helping your child identify when a decision needs to be made. A great way to do this is by involving them in certain choices. You can even give them simple tasks with an expectation to make a meaningful contribution. All of this will help shape them into confident, self-assured adults.
As our children transition from childhood to young adulthood, they are faced with big life decisions that are not always easy to make. From a young age, encouraging and applying strong decision-making skills will help children find solutions to conflicts, hurdles, and obstacles, preparing them for the real world. Those skills learned will make them better students, communicators, and leaders.
In this article, you will learn the benefits of having sound decision-making skills and activities to help your child improve those skills.
Benefits of Teaching Decision-Making
The benefits of teaching your children decision-making skills may seem obvious. Still, there are many reasons this skill set is helpful to children now and as they maneuver their way through school and adulthood. Decision-making is tied to everything we do in life. Here are just a few of those benefits:
- Correcting Mistakes
Even when your child makes a mistake, it's a chance for them to see the consequences of their decisions and how they can weigh those pros and cons before making them.
- Thinking Ahead
Once children grasp that their decisions have consequences, they can piece together how their choices impact the bigger picture, helping them to think and plan ahead.
- Boosts Confidence
When a child feels confident in their ability to make decisions, whether deciding between orange juice or apple juice, it gives them a sense of independence and self-reliance. This, in turn, helps them feel more confident in themselves.
Activities to Improve Decision-Making Skills
How can you guide and improve your decision-making for your child? We've compiled the five best tips to help you develop your child's decision-making skills.
- Role Play
This fun exercise allows your child to put themselves in different people's shoes. It reveals a child's thought process, providing insight into how their mind works to come to conclusions.
Read a story together. Then ask your child to reimagine the ending. This explores how if a character made a different decision, it would have led them down another path. It's a creative way that involves active decision-making in a low-risk context.
- Board Games
Classic board games are perfectly structured for children to make choices and to experience the consequences or gains of those choices. Board games take strategy, thinking ahead, and sometimes even negotiating. Plus, board games are a lot of fun and won't feel like a deliberate life lesson.
Debate is tied to critical thinking and open discussions. When children have the freedom to disagree with one another purposely, it encourages decision-making on how they want to express their opinions. Concrete evidence in a debate lays the groundwork for thoughtful decision-making to help support their views.
- Enroll them in an online course
An online course serves as a fun, safe space to practice. Joining a course such as our It's Game Time: Decision-Making in Business & Life will go a long way in a more structured approach.
There you have it – five impactful activities that will help you build your child's decision-making skills. Children make a host of decisions every day. Incorporating these activities, many of which may already be happening daily, will help them make better decisions.
With the guidance of our Ivy League instructors, Ivy Camps USA offers students the chance to use concepts steeped in psychology, economics, philosophy, and statistics to understand decision science in a personal and business context. Many factors impact our decision-making process. This course will provide your child with a safe space to test, experiment, and learn from their mistakes to help them make better, more sound decisions that they can feel good about.
By the end of the course, students will use decision-making science to identify a problem or need in their life and come to an informed solution through experimentation.