Frequently Asked Questions about Making Choices

My child always seems to make the wrong choices

I am trying to let my toddler make choices about things but she never seems to make the choices I would like her to make and I end up saying to her that she can't do that but would she like to do something else. Sometimes she is happy with that but at other times it ends in tears and I wish I had never said she could choose. For example, sometimes in the supermarket I say she can choose which fruit we bring home for lunch and she might choose something that I know she does not like so I don't want to buy that because I know it will be wasted. I suggest something else and she ends up not eating it anyway because she says she had chosen something else. How can I facilitate her making appropriate choices?

There are two interesting points here to consider. Firstly, you should be giving your young child options to choose from so that she is selecting from just a few things and whichever she chooses you know you will be happy for her to have it. When you give her too large a range to choose from she becomes overwhelmed and just makes a random choice based on what catches her eye. Second, if you are going to let her choose anything then you need to let her experience the consequences of her choice. You might say 'I don't think you like that fruit, sweetheart' but if she still insists then let her try it and find out for herself. For young children experience is everything and next time she will remember that she did not like that fruit and she won't want to choose it again. That is a much more powerful lesson to her than your words.