No-one is born with the ability to make good judgements or wise decisions. These are skills that are developed through experience, whether our own or witnessing the experiences of other people.
Good judgement comes from experience and good experience comes from bad judgements whether they are your own or someone else’s that you’ve shared.
To help your child develop good judgement:
Provide Opportunities to Gain Experiences
Judicious daily practice helps develop good judgement. Provide children with opportunities to make their own judgements and decisions and create their own experiences.
Stop Rescuing Them
Our tendency today is to wrap our children in cotton-wool. Stop! Within safe boundaries, of course, allow them to experience their own bad judgement.
Let toddlers and young children choose their own clothes, whether they want cereals or toast, how to wear their hair, remember to take their own lunch box or gym kit to school, when to go to bed or do their homework (please do note the safe boundaries here). If they chose a strawberry ice but then liked the look of yours better, they can have it next time or share yours with you but they chose strawberry this time so that’s what they get.
Verbally Give Examples of your Own Inner Decision-Making
Talk to them so they understand your inner decision-making. I’m going to take a jumper because it looks like the weather might change. I’m going to take an umbrella just in case, it looks like rain. I’m going to have an apple rather than a biscuit because I’ve put on a bit of weight, I’m going to do my work now and then I can relax and play/read a book/watch a film later without still thinking about stuff I’ve got to do.
Consciously Provide the Facts to Ensure They’re Armed
If your child is in the position where they’re trying to make a decision and develop good judgement, simply provide them with the facts. It looks like rain, we have to get up early in the morning and could be tired if we go to bed too late, if people don’t eat breakfast some get hungry at work before it’s time for lunch, etc. Try not to “lead” them by presenting only information in the direction you think they should go in. Arm them with all the evidence.
Openly and Unemotionally Discuss Their Experiences
Help your child to reflect on the outcome of their experiences, be they good or bad – be sure to do this without an “I told you so” attitude. Discuss their day’s experiences. Ask them questions about how they felt, what they would do differently in the future, how they can make sure it does or doesn’t happen again.
Life happens. Good experiences happen. Bad experiences happen. Be sure to let your child create their own supply of “ahh” moments (both good and bad) on which they can build confidence and develop good judgement skills for the future.
Has your child had an experience that gave them an “ahh” moment? Why not share on the comments below or send us a CANDo email?