Crème de la Crème Families,
With cooler temperatures coming our way, I hope that we have all been able to take a moment and soak in the fresh air and the fall season colors. This time of year is usually guilty for making us feel a bit giddy and walking with perhaps, a bit more of a pep in our step. Knowing that the holidays and family time are quickly approaching, it might give our minds that allotted time we need to re-group and re-charge.
As we circle around to the end of the year, I am reminded of a question I was asked by a parent regarding the topic of choices. “Am I suppose to give choices to my child?” was the question and “if so, how do I know when to give choices?” I thought about the best way to answer this question and felt it most fitting to explain it with this type of scenario. Imagine that you are in line at your favorite coffee shop and instead of having the wonderful Barista ask you what you would like to order, you are handed a cold coffee drink with the insistence that this will be your choice for today! No choice of with or without creamer, no choice of a cold brew or hot coffee, and certainly no choice of one or two pumps of flavored syrup. As adults, I can tell you that this would not suffice for very long at all.
Now imagine this type of scenario happening to our children. The most vibrant of our youth, yet at times we forget that one size does not fit all. Giving children choices is a part of growing up and helps them feel like they have some sort of control over what they would like to do. Not everything has to be planned down to the last detail when it comes to activities and/or daily routines. Let us remember that the key to giving children choices is to first decide what choices you will allow them to make. The choices shouldn’t be endless, but offering a few age appropriate ones will certainly help develop self-control while they are learning how to make choices.
Remember that not everyone can sit crisscross applesauce with hands in their lap during a whole story time session. Remember that sometimes we have to offer choices for those who are wiggly and can’t sit still. Giving them a realistic choice of “listening to the story” or “looking at a book in the Library Center” will help alleviate the battle of control. On the other hand, asking a child if they are “ready for bedtime” gives that child the opportunity to say “yes” or “no”. A choice that you probably won’t agree to. Asking a child “which book they would like you to read before bedtime” is a choice a child can truly be allowed to choose, and one that you can agree to as well.
While we as parents, are constantly striving to learn all that there is and raise kind hearted children, remember that each day comes with its own highlights. Take the time to recognize them and applaud yourself for each accomplished milestone.
Stay positive and continue creating memories with your children. Stay safe and healthy.
Vice President of Education and Training
Crème de la Crème