|Publisher:||Crown Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.30(w) x 8.01(h) x 0.54(d)|
Read an Excerpt
It's much in style to give children choices. The belief commonly held by many parents is that if you give children choices they will more likely agree to do what they are supposed to do. Parents also tend to believe that decision making is good intellectual exercise for making intelligent choices later in life. Many parents see giving choices as the best way to teach assertiveness.
The Principle of Choices
Preschool children should be allowed to make some choices The principle to remember in giving your children choices is to give them only the choices they are capable of making responsibly and not to give them choices when you know what is best for them and the consequences are dangerous or not immediately obvious to the children.
It's inappropriate to believe that natural consequences suffice to teach preschool children how to make appropriate choices. Preschool children are very concrete in their thinking. They cannot project the future yet. The only consequences that affect their further decision making are the consequences that immediately follow their choices, and some of those are too risky and some are too abstract for them to understand.
For example, in child proofing your home (see chapter 6), you put safety plugs into outlets so that children won't get electric shocks during their explorations. The natural consequence, an electric shock, would be immediate and would prevent any further exploration of electrical outlets, but the risks are too great, and children don't have the judgment to make that decision. Your safety plug is used as a limit to prevent an irresponsible choice.
Here's another example: Suppose you decide to give your children choices of anything they want for breakfast, and your daughter picks a chocolate candy bar. The immediate consequence of that choice would be the good sweet taste, and she would undoubtedly choose it again and again if you continued to give her the choices. She cannot automatically know about the poor nutritional value of a chocolate candy bar. If she's accustomed to having all the choices and you said no to her chocolate candy request, the arguments would begin. You can probably hear her now: "It has milk in it, and you give me chocolate milk," or "It tastes better than cereal." And a battle would be on. However, if your daughter is accustomed to your giving her a narrower set of choices -- "Would you like cereal or French toast?" -- she could make that choice, and you could feel comfortable about giving her either. You have given her a developmentally appropriate choice.
Here's a third, quite common example of giving children appropriate choices: Your four-year-old son takes naps intermittently. He's at the stage where he's almost outgrown napping, but not quite. He seems tired and cranky, and you know a nap would be good for him. If you give him a choice about taking a nap, you can absolutely count on a "no," a power struggle, and tears. Instead, tell him he may choose whether to have quiet time to look at books on his bed or take a nap. He'll remind you that he doesn't want to nap and that he's too big for a nap but will probably be asleep before he finishes his first book. Either choice will be effective. If he doesn't fall asleep during his quiet time, he undoubtedly required only the quiet time, and you can feel confident that he at least had the opportunity to nap.
Preschoolers are capable of making choices between two or three possibilities that are all good for them (as in the cereal-French toast example). By and large, that means you shouldn't ask children if they want to nap, want to go to bed, want to take a bath, want to eat, or want to pick up their toys These decisions are all your responsibility. As children mature and learn about healthy habits, they'll be in better positions to make these choices responsibly, and you will avoid many of the battles that you see other parents struggle with. In short, don't give choices to children where you will accept only one or you are not being fair. An argument will surely follow.
Parents Need Assertiveness
Sometimes it seems as if in the process of teaching children assertiveness, parents lose their own assertiveness They are so anxious to please their children, they leave themselves powerless and without family leadership. Children who grow up being given all the choices learn to expect to have all the choices, and that power leaves their parents with very few choices. When you know what's best, be positive and direct, and your children will have confidence in your guidance. They will also feel more secure.
- Offer children choices appropriate to their developmental responsibility.
- In order for preschoolers to learn from consequences, have consequences follow immediately.
- Offer only choices where all choices they make are appropriate.
- Be positive and direct when you know what's best and children don't.
Excerpted from RAISING PRESCHOOLERS: PARENTING FOR TODAY, Copyright © 1997 by Dr. Sylvia Rimm. Published by Three Rivers Press, a division of Crown Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Table of Contents
|1.||Planning Your Preschooler's Day||16|
|Using a Schedule||17|
|2.||Enriching Your Children's Environment||23|
|Toys That Teach||24|
|Gender Stereotypes in Play||25|
|Reading, Talking, and Questioning||25|
|Lessons and Classes||28|
|Kindness and Consideration||38|
|Expressing Feelings and Developing Sensitivity||40|
|Me Firsters and Poor Losers||41|
|Chasing, Roughhousing, and Tickling||41|
|Chores and Responsibilities||42|
|Helping Children Learn About Their Bodies||43|
|The Important Relationship Between Discipline and Freedom||53|
|The V of Love||55|
|Routines and Flexibility||57|
|The Principle of Choices||60|
|Parents Need Assertiveness||62|
|6.||Childproofing: Playpens, Gates, and Fences||67|
|Restrictions That Allow Freedom||68|
|7.||Rewards and Punishments||72|
|8.||To Spank or Use Time-Out||81|
|A No-Win Situation||81|
|The Risks of Abuse||83|
|Providing Safety and Adult Care||84|
|Cribs, Chairs, and Bedrooms||84|
|Using a Timer||85|
|Understanding the Reason||85|
|Team Involvement by Fathers||95|
|How It Feels||97|
|10.||Finding Good Day Care for Your Preschooler||101|
|Fostering the Love of Books||103|
|Art, Creative Expression, and Curiosity||103|
|Music, Dance, and Movement||103|
|Outdoor Play and Exploration||103|
|Freedom to Choose Within Limitations||104|
|Alternative Child-Care Providers||105|
|Selecting a Child-Care Provider||106|
|Home Child Care||107|
|11.||Communication with Your Child-Care Providers||115|
|Other Child-Care Providers||118|
|12.||When a New Baby Comes||123|
|When Baby Comes||124|
|Symptoms of Sibling Rivalry||125|
|Secrets and Surprises||128|
|Building Cooperative Relationships||128|
|The Frustration Tantrum||133|
|The Disappointment Tantrum||134|
|Too Much Talk||134|
|15.||Aggressiveness and Assertiveness||136|
|Hitting, Pushing, and Teasing||138|
|Causes of Aggressive Behavior||138|
|Television and Video Games||139|
|Illness and Allergy||139|
|Prevention of Aggressive Behaviors||140|
|The Risk of Overprotection||140|
|Differentiating Tattling and Reporting||141|
|Especially Fearful Children||146|
|17.||Food and Fitness||153|
|Staying United at Mealtimes||158|
|United Sleep Routines||168|
|19.||Toilet Training and Bed-Wetting||175|
|Initiating Toilet Training||175|
|Bowel Movement Training||177|
|Consulting Your Pediatrician||177|
|20.||Traveling with Your Preschooler||181|
|Independent Air Travel||184|
|The Well-Stocked Travel Bag||185|
|21.||When Both Parents Have Careers||187|
|When Work Schedules Differ||187|
|No Need to Apologize||190|
|If Father Is the Homemaker||195|
|If There Is Only a Father||197|
|When Grandparents Do the Parenting||198|
|23.||Getting Ready for Kindergarten||205|
|Delayed Entrance to Kindergarten||206|
|Early Entrance to Kindergarten||208|
|Preparation for Kindergarten||208|
|24.||Grandparents Are Important||212|
|Grandparents as Caretakers||212|
|Sharing of Skills and Interests||213|
|Holidays and Traditions||213|
|25.||Developing Your Own Parenting Style||220|
|Building Confidence in Your Parenting||221|