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Your 6 1/4-year-old: Making choices

Your 6 1/4-year-old: Making choices


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Your 6-year-old now

Making choices can be hard for sixes. While it's great to offer extra control now, he may still need more direction than you think. The trouble is that there are so many possible choices, and he's very aware of the possibilities.

Let's say you ask him to choose a snack. Easy enough, right? Well, you may have a pantry full of options. Should he take his favorite cookies or try something new? Will he be disappointed if makes the wrong choice?

Think about how you make a decision: You have to assess the situation, your needs, the needs of others, what the options are. In a life where you have a minimum of control, every choice can seem like a big deal. You've had lots of practice, but for your child, making choices is still hard. That's why kids sometimes seem paralyzed by indecision.

When you can, avoid stepping in and making the choice for him. Limit the options so he's less liable to be overwhelmed. You can also help by teaching him how to winnow down choices. Be empathetic: "I know it can be hard to choose. Do you want to pick your favorite today or try something new?" Then let him live with the decisions he makes. That will help eliminate the second-guessing and wanting to start all over again that can be frustrating for everyone involved.

Your life now

Little things you say can help your child see that you "get" his distress when he's upset. Try using phrases like, "Wow, you must feel so sad that John is moving away." Or, "I know, it's sad when something is canceled because of rain." Even saying, "You look sad" can be an invitation to expressing other feelings.

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