8 ways to build a child’s decision-making skills

By synthesis.com

1. Encourage debates.

Ask your child their opinion often—how they came to their conclusions, why they do or don’t like something—and challenge them to provide evidence to support their claim.

2. Involve them.

Ask what they think you should do in a situation you are involved in. This creates space for discovery and discussion.

3. Ask their reasoning.

Discover how they came to their decision, then provide support to foster confidence.

4. Role-play.

Allow kids to practice deciding by asking them to visualize themselves as another person with a different set of circumstances. This exercise builds empathy.

5. Think in probabilities.

There are a lot of gray areas that exist in life, and it gets complicated. Help your child factor in uncertainty by asking, “What else might happen?” or “What could happen next?”

6. Update their beliefs.

Once your child makes a decision, invite them to reflect; ask them questions like: “How did that go?”

“What did you learn?”

“What can you improve next time?”

7. Promote creativity.

Ask them what else might happen, what are some other options, what different solutions might there be? This will build the instinct to consider other options and not go with the first one or two that come to mind.

8. Teach calm.

Strong emotions can get in the way. Help them see the other perspective, look at the situation from “the balcony,” as if they were viewing a play. Or delay the talk until the emotions aren’t as hot.

A good decision doesn’t mean a clear-cut right answer. It means making the best choice out of a set of options with unknown outcomes.


(Our thanks to our friends at Synthesis for sharing this content. Synthesis.com is an online community working to build, through extracurricular programing, students’ abilities to solve complex problems as part of a team.)

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