give kids choices

On a typical day, I used to have at least three arguments with my toddler. While this is frustrating in and of itself, I also had (or witnessed) at least a few arguments with my bigger kids. After a day of work and parenting, this kind of conflict-resolution left me feeling exhausted and burned out.

As a result, I looked for many ways to ease the tension that seems to come out of nowhere during parenting. Do you feel this too? It’s amazing how quickly things go from calm to chaos in a home with kids!

And what I’ve noticed lately, is that choice plays a HUGE role in how happy my home tends to be.

It’s a simple rule, yet harder to follow in practice. (Isn’t everything!)

And it’s this: the more choices I give my kids, the better off we all are. My kids feel more in control of their lives and therefore rebel and get angry less often. As long as I keep the choices within my mom range, we all end up twice as happy!

So, here are 5 examples of ways that you can add choices into your time with kids. We’ve done it, and it has worked surprisingly well. Just in case you are looking for a way to argue less too!

  1. Food

Food is often the BIGGEST source of conflict in a home with children, but it doesn’t need to be. If you give kids a few different healthy options, they get to pick what they eat, and you are still happy that they are eating something healthy. So, with food, think variety, and then they make the final decision.

2. Games

Family game night was not without arguing in our home. Everyone wants to play a different game, in a different way. To ease this conflict, we’ve found that it’s best for mom and dad to pick three games in advance, and then they pick within those.

For a fun game with lots of choices, see: The Best This or That Questions Game

3. Clothes

My kids hate anything I pick out for them. So, they pick out their own clothing amongst what gets washed, and we are all happier for it.

4. Good Habits

Instead of constantly nagging the kids to do their chores (like I used to), they now have a routine checklist. They must do these good habits and chores before screen time or friends.

Now, the part that they love is that they can do them whenever they want! They have control over the timing, which gives them freedom. Plus, mom is happy because I no longer have to argue to get it done.

5. Activities

Instead of mom and dad making all of the decisions for family and extracurricular activities, we now give the kids plenty of input. It’s a drag for ALL of us if one of the kids is throwing a fit over something they don’t want to do.

So, we talk about it together and make the decision together. It’s not always something everyone in the family wants, but it has prevented a TON of arguments.

In Conclusion

There you have it! We are definitely not perfect, but adding more autonomy and choices to our kids’ days has relieved a lot of stress in our home. I hope you find it beneficial as well.

In the end, kids are just like adults. We all want to feel in control of our days, our lives, and our destinies. And it’s no big deal to grant my kids this wish. In fact, it helps us all thrive.