A while back, I read an instagram post about allowing babies to make their own choices. I was so curious about this, so I did my own research and decided to start implementing choice in our daily routine!
When I say that I give Rayna the choice for XYZ, the typical response is either “She’s a baby! She doesn’t know what she’s picking” or “She’s a baby, I make the choices.” Yes, she is a baby, but she is also learning and developing daily, and if I can do something little to help her in the long run, why not?!
I’m not saying, let your baby choose everything and anything, whenever, wherever. There are ways to add choice in small portions of the day that really don’t make much of a difference. Keep in mind, YOU are the one giving your baby the options that they are making their choice from!
Times I allow for choice and what it looks like:
Outfit of the day – I typically give her the choice of 2-3 outfits, bows are always my choice 😉 I lay the outfits out on the floor, put her on her tummy, and let her have at it. She usually explores the outfits for about 10 minutes. She carefully stares at each one, touches them, tries to eat them, rubs it against her face, etc. After a few minutes she’ll eventually grab one and pull it in to her, showing me she’s “picked.”
Toys/Playtime – Whenever Rayna is playing with her toys and teething things, it looks very similar to her outfit choice process. I lay out a 3-4 toys, let her pick one, then I put the rest to the side so if she chooses to want to play with them she can.
Books – I offer her two books and let her pick which she wants read to her!
Other ways you can offer choice:
Food – If you’re willing to! I grew up in a “you’ll eat what’s on the table” household, and honestly, that’s how I intend on going about food in regards to dinner. You can also do this with food by asking how they want their food prepared/cut. Keep In mind, your kid may ask you for her sandwich in triangles, then cry because you make her sandwich triangles. LOL. Snacks of course are an easier place to allow that flexibility.
Activity – for example: “Do you want to go to the store with Mommy or hang out at home with Daddy?” or “Do you want to go to the park with the big slide or the park with the rock wall?”
Benefits of giving your child choice, even at the infant stage:
- Helps avoid tantrums! Obviously, meltdowns are unavoidable, but sometimes just a little change can help avoid situations that would cause some fits!
- Reassures them and the choices they’re making are good ones. As adults we seek validation in our choices (whether we like to admit it or not) and it feels good when someone approves of what we do. Same goes for babies and kids. Supporting them in the choices they make doesn’t have to only be in regards to major life choices, but in silly things like an outfit, as well.
- Develops problem solving skills
- Builds respect and a healthy relationship
Always make sure to praise their choice,
even if it’s not what YOU would have chosen!