Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Choices, Revisited with Video Clip

Giving choices to kids as a form of discipline, is something I've talked about several times (here) as I love the principal behind it:  It empowers kids to make their own choices!

But as I have started giving my toddler choices, I've realized how important it is and how easy it is to forget to use the word 'choice' when giving them.  Just the other day during snack time, I thought I was giving my child a choice, "you can have the wheat crackers or the cheese crackers".  And then I thought to myself, what the heck am I doing, where is the word 'choice' in here?  Ugh.  Yep, I'm a counselor that teaches this principal to parents, and I forgot.  So I quickly said, "you can choose to have the wheat crackers or you can choose to eat the cheese ones, which do you choose?" (and let me add here that she was wanting cookies, not one of her snack choices :))

Here is a refresher on giving choices to kids:

-you give 2 choices to your child

-use the word 'choose' in there so they know THEY are making the choice and not you

-don't just use the word 'choice' when talking about choices with them, be specific.  Like don't say, "make a choice.."  or "that is not a good choice" without explaining what the choice actually is.

-and if your choice involves taking away something, if they are young use half a day such as "you can't watch Dora for the rest of the morning", or " the rest of the afternoon."  As telling them, "you won't be able to watch Dora for the rest of the day" is too long for a 4 year old.

So since my child is now 2 (28 months to be exact), I decided to dust off my old VCR and pop in the Cookies, Choices and Kids VHS tape to show my husband the Oreo Cookie theory so he can start using it.  This is the video I talked about here.  I first watched this video 15 years ago and loved it!  It's not the best quality and super old, but I decided to record it on my phone from my TV (I know, super technologically savvy) to show you all the main principle in it so you can see what I'm talking about.  Not the fanciest way to do it, but when you have a newborn and a 2 year old at home, cutting corners is my new way of life.

If you want to order the full DVD (which I recommend) you can order it here.  Also, if you click on the link, there is a video clip of it on there as well (click on 'view video' at the bottom).

Just a quick background on the clip.  The man speaking is Dr. Landreth, the father of child-centered play therapy, retired professor but still presents at workshops up at UNT.  He is speaking in front of a group of moms about giving choices and the video is circa 1992.

How has choice giving worked for you?


  1. Thank you so much for posting this video clip. I love his example and hearing him talk about how to do it makes much more sense now!