How to teach your children to think for themselves.

For a child to grow and learn properly they must be able to make a choice

It is only natural that parents will want to make life easier for their kids and prevent them from having any major stressors in life. However, for a child to grow and learn properly they must be able to make a choice when faced with any potential pitfalls in life. Every child should know that with every problem there is an option or a choice to overcome it and here I have listed a few tips on the best way to teach your child to think for themselves. 
  • Encourage free play- Children learn quite a lot from free play as they decide what to play with and how to play with it. These first decisions are the start of independent thinking which is vital if you want to raise a child who can think for themselves. 
  • Let your child decide on the small stuff- No matter how young your child may be you should encourage them to make decisions or to pick from a couple of choices. For example, you could put out a couple of outfits on the bed for them to choose from or let them choose a family day out activity. They may not be massive decisions but they do help a child grow and it builds confidence.
  • Be a good role model- If you are the type of person who can never decide on things your child will inevitably pick up on this and be indecisive as a result. Try to be more in control of your decisions and if you are asked about dinner plans be clear and concise rather than to and froing!
  • Don’t criticize- If you are allowing your child to make some decisions you should be aware that your child will make mistakes along the way. You should guide your kiddie and be a constant support but leave some room for them to figure stuff out themselves.
  • Have strong rules and boundaries- Regardless of allowing your child to freely think for themselves you should have rules and boundaries at home and when out and about. All children need guidelines and should be encouraged to follow them at all times.
  • Discuss bad decisions- If your child does make an error of judgement you should sit down and explain why the decision wasn’t the right one. It may have only been a little thing like picking a hot chocolate flavour that they invariably didn’t like yet they insisted on having it! Ensuring that next time they consider things better and take some guidance from you rather than steaming ahead.
  • Plan- Planning ahead will help your child to choose the right option and help their decision making in the long run. Before you leave the house for your kiddie to go shopping for a new toy prepare them fully telling them they will be allowed one toy at a certain price and must choose between the many types there will be at the shop. Instil in your child that it is their decision but you will not listen to complaints later if they change their mind. A decision made is a final one and they must learn to live with their little decisions.
Written by Emma Hayes. Emma is a writer with Family Friendly HQ and also writes her own parenting musings over at

Emma Hayes

Emma Hayes is a busy mum to two girls aged 17 and 11 and is married to her childhood sweetheart.

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