Decision-making is one of those life skills that helps people move through life with purpose instead of proceeding without specific goals or plans, states Jim Taylor, Ph.D., with the Psychology Today website. Although decision-making is important, there’s no reason you can’t use fun activities to teach solid skills.
Stories that Teach
Start thinking and talking about decision-making skills through books to introduce the principle and process. Old-fashioned fairy tales can be effective for illustrating the decision-making process and opening the door to some interesting conversations, states Pamela Leong, with the Ohio State University. Try reading or telling fairy tales like “The Three Little Pigs,” “The Little Engine That Could” and “Little Red Riding Hood.” Children’s books that touch on decision-making skills include “Little Miss Fickle” by Roger Hargreaves, “No! Yes!” by Harriet Ziefert and “Hunches in Bunches” by Dr. Seuss.
Shopping can be a series of lessons in decision-making. Instead of presenting your child with all the options and choices at a store, make a little shop at home to introduce your child to decision-making. Arrange five or six small trinkets on the table and place a price tag on each item (some items could cost a quarter and other items could cost two quarters). Give your child two quarters and allow her to “shop” with her money. She may opt to purchase two less expensive items or one more expensive item.
Gather several kids for a fun decision-making game that may cause a stir. Before you begin, prepare lunch bags with a small toy or prize -- you’ll need one more bag and prize than the number of children participating. Each bag should contain a different prize. Close the bags and place them where the kids can see them. Leave one bag untouched, pass a bag to each child and instruct the children not to open the bags. The children can feel the items inside and shake the bags, but they cannot open them. Without knowing the contents, each child needs to decide whether he will keep his current bag, trade with another child or choose the untouched bag. Allow time or the children to consider their decisions and then trade if they desire. After everyone finishes final bag trades, tell the children to open their bags and marvel at the prizes inside. Talk about why each child made his decision and consider what the children might have done differently.
Make a Menu
Give your child an opportunity to plan a simple meal. Your child might decide to plan a meal of favorite foods or she could also opt to choose new foods. If she wants to make a fruit salad, help your child choose various fruits to add to the salad. If your child wants a dessert, talk about various options and choose something extra appealing. Once your child finalizes the menu, shop for it (if necessary) and prepare the meal with your child’s help.