Structured Choices-video


Do you sometimes battle with your 5-year-old about what she is going to wear to school?  Reduce your stress and hers by offering structured choices.  This two-minute video will give you some ideas about how to develop structured choices for your child.  The article below the video is included for those of you who prefer reading.


Question:  My kindergartener fights me every morning about what she’s going to wear to school.  What should I do to help the situation?

Answer:  Well if you’re one of those lucky parents who is enrolled in a school district where they have uniforms–that saves a little grief.  But if you are not, then here’s some tips that might help you.

Choosing her own clothes really isn’t about what the child is wearing as much as about her ability to control her environment. She wants her choices.  She wants what she wants and, so, if at all possible, let’s figure out a way to give them to her.  One of those things you can do is give her structured choices.

A structured choice means she doesn’t get to open up the drawer and just put on anything she wants.  You structure her choices by saying something like, “Okay you’re going to kindergarten.  At kindergarten, you will need a pair of shorts and a t-shirt.  Would you  like to wear the blue one or the yellow one.” She chooses the yellow one.  Yellow is her favorite color.  Then you say, “Hmm. Yellow looks beautiful with these blue shorts. It also looks beautiful with these green shorts. Which would you like to choose?”

You’ve already given her the idea that she’s gonna be fabulous no matter what she chooses. So when she chooses the green shorts, you’re going to say, “Wow! That’s a great choice.  You’re going to look splendid.  Now let’s get some socks that match and some shoes.”

You follow through and help her with the shoe choice because you know that the preferred flip-flops are not an appropriate choice for kindergarten.  She’ll need some sturdy shoes,  tennis shoes most likely, because she’s going to be running and playing on the playground. You structure the same conversation. “Would you like to wear your brown lace-up shoes or your pink tennis shoes?”  When she says “Well, I like my brown lace-up shoes because I like brown and green together.”,  you say “Great choice!” (even though you would have preferred the pink tennis shoes.) Either choice meets the criteria for running on the playground and she feels empowered.  What you’ve done is taught your daughter how to make good choices, and you’ve been able to affirm her for what she’s done.

Nice work mom!

*Photo Copyright: <a href=’’>indigolotos / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

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