Helping Kids Make Choices

My wife and I have started a new routine in our home called toy rotation. We may be atypical from many Midwestern families regarding the types of toys we purchase (electronic toys are generally a no in our household) but we still have quite a bit of toys. And, since we help our kids pick up their toys at the end of the day we do not keep a large number of toys out at any one time.

Once a week we take the kids, currently 4.5 and 2.5 years old, down to the basement to choose which toys will come up. We take those toys up to their playspace and then the real challenge starts. It’s one thing to choose a toy to bring into the playspace…it’s a whole other thing to figure out what to take out. But this is life. Life’s about making choices. How’s that song go? “You can’t always get what you want?”

So we talk.

I ask them what toys they want to keep and what they are willing to put away. Most of the time they’re just excited to play with the toys they just brought up! If they aren’t ready to make a decision then I just make it for them. Usually, that brings out their real desire.

That idea scales to Democratic and self-directed education as well. We get students in the habit of making choices that affect their real lives.

Philip Mott

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