Friday, June 4, 2010

"No Choices"

Inspired by Simplicity Parenting, Dave and I have recently decided to start a new policy in our household. No choices. Now, I know this goes against every Early Childhood parent educator that I've had, who have pushed the concept of giving choices as often as opportunity presents itself as a way to let your child feel like they have some control over their life. I have come to the conclusion that no toddler needs this. It's downright overwhelming!

For example, for the past 2 years I've asked her whether she wants to wear pants or a skirt- red or pink? sandals or shoes-- with socks or without? orange juice or soymilk, and in the red cup or the blue cup (seriously-- that's what I was doing before breakfast every morning--crazy, huh?) I am not a pushover, and I would stick to the two (or three) options, only presenting 'acceptable' ones, but whew! what a lot of work for all of us! The rules obviously change once your child goes to school and becomes responsible for making decisions all day long. Why push that sooner than necessary? Dave and I are working on becoming benevolent dictators, and to help us remember I've posted the note pictured above on the fridge.

Interestingly enough, I've received little to NO toddler backlash (ie: refusal to cooperate) over the past week. Instead of hemming and hawing over oatmeal or toast (and my inevitable frustration at not getting a clear answer), she happily eats the bowl of multi-grain Cheerios placed before her. Same with lunch, snack, and dinner. I'm done asking questions, instead phrasing all my 'requests' as "You may...." (as in "you may go to the bathroom now", "you may get Miss Kitty and go upstairs to nap", "you may place your blocks back in the basket"). Wish me luck, and I'll keep you posted as to how our experiment is going!