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What decisions do you let the little one make?

My DD1 turns 4 on the 14th of this month.

I like to let her make decisions that don't matter, like what she wears or what we have for dinner. She thinks she's made a huge decision for herself or for the family and she loves it. For dinner, I'll have her pick out which lentils we'll have, which other vegetables we'll have, which grain we'll have, and sometimes which meat and how it's prepared. As long as we have something from each category, the details are basically up to her. I don't do this every night, but quite often. At breakfast time, I just ask her, "What do you want for breakfast." and as long as it's not something unhealthy like ice cream I usually make her whatever it was she wanted. Most of the time lunches are sandwiches or leftovers, but I let her decide on them.


Asked by AmourSpork at 7:18 PM on May. 9, 2011 in Preschoolers (3-4)

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Answers (10)
  • What they want to wear, what they want to read, what they want to eat or snack.

    Answer by booger14 at 7:22 PM on May. 9, 2011

  • mine is 4 and a half, she picks out her own clothes and pajamas. she gets to pick one meal a week that i write on our weekly menu. for breakfast i give her two options and let her choose which she wants. i let her pick out her swimsuit this year and which color goggles she liked better.

    Answer by tnm786 at 7:23 PM on May. 9, 2011

  • I let my 4yr old basically decide what she's going to wear. If we are going out I will give her some choices but if we are just staying here I let her wear whatever she wants. One day she ran around all day in a Christmas dress but she was happy & it won't fit next year so no big deal. I let her chose what to have for breakfast & lunch. Its just her & I here all day so its no big deal.

    Answer by Anonymous at 7:21 PM on May. 9, 2011

  • It's good to let kids make decisions like this, as it gives them an important sense of control. If you make all the decisions for them, they feel manipulated and often get rebellious even though they may not understand why they feel angry and resentful. I even let my 7 year old decide if he does his homework or not, but he has to live with the consequences if he choses not to, and usually ends up spending all of Thursday afternoon and evening catching up if he hasn't kept on top of it through the week. But it's very important to make kids make decisions and get used to making choices and then dealing with consequences.

    Answer by judimary at 7:23 PM on May. 9, 2011

  • Would you like me to carry you to bed, or do you want to walk yourself?

    The decisions that small children should allowed to make should have the same outcome that a parent would make.

    Answer by Anonymous at 7:23 PM on May. 9, 2011

  • i give him choices for meals, most of the time. he can pick either/or.
    i let him choose his top/bottoms for the day (after i've checked the weather forecast).
    i let him choose if he wanted to play a sport and which ones. he's learned this spring that he doesn't like baseball..but the season isn't over until end of june...
    i let him choose which activities we do on our saturdays. its usually outside and active!
    i let him pick out his toothbrushes, bubblebath..oh yeah! i let him pick out his bathroom and bedroom decor..that was a huge act of trust on my part. his bedroom is astronomy/planets, and his bathroom is colorful fish and beach.

    all in all, i let him have a large part of the decision making. (he just turned 6.)

    Answer by dullscissors at 7:24 PM on May. 9, 2011

  • What he wears, what we read for bedtime, I give him two options for snacks and he'll decide one or the other. I even let him decide what reward treat he'll get if he eats his dinner (picky eater) and cleans up after himself.

    Answer by Imortlmommy at 7:25 PM on May. 9, 2011

  • DS gets to spin the meal wheel every day. I make a menu for the week so I know what to get at the store and then he gets the spin the dry erase wheel to decide which of the pre-planned meals we have that night. He gets to choose what snacks he wants at the store. String cheese seems to be his favorite right now. I also let him choose which park he wants to go to since we have two within walking distance.

    Answer by Anonymous at 9:19 PM on May. 9, 2011

  • My ds (3) gets to decide what to eat for breakfast and lunch (dinner is for everyone and I decide). He chooses his clothes and shoes and the games we play, even if he's not quite old enough for them lol. I also let him choose which show he'll watch in the evening (he loves Calliou).

    Answer by Austinsmom35 at 10:37 PM on May. 9, 2011

  • My 3.5yo gets to pick her own clothes and shoes within weather guidelines, her dessert, fruit, and what books to read.

    Answer by anng.atlanta at 11:20 PM on May. 9, 2011