Managing Children with Choices: It’s All About Teamwork!

I think we overshot our week by a day or so, being too busy to remember… sincere apologies! Let’s pick right up and continue from there.

The question:  does creativity work with our choices tactic? If there really isn’t a choice, does it work to give them simplistic choices? And what about older children who won’t buy into them? What is the real key to managing children?

Some children are too smart to buy into your choices, and will refuse to put on their shoes anyway (especially older children). It can quickly escalate into a nasty confrontation of wills. Most of the time, if you stay firm and kindly but firmly let the child know that there is no any alternative to putting on his shoes, he will relent. Now here’s the key: although the confrontation is eventually going to go your way, you want the child realise that you were helping him to achieve what he needed to get done—his goals, not yours.

Whenever you encounter difficulties with children, remember this: never work against the child. It is never me vs. you. No. What you want is to work WITH the child towards a shared goal. I personally encounter confrontations like this all the time, while working with children. Every single time, it is resolved the quickest when the child realises that I am not fighting him; I am trying to work with him, to help him towards something he needs to do.

Even with older children (primary school-age) I used to work with, I often told them, “Look, I know the requirements are tough, and some of them are unreasonable. They are there, and we can’t change them. It doesn’t help if we rebel. So let’s try to reach them together instead. I’m here to help. I wasn’t the one who set the requirements, but I can help you reach there.” And that often brought them around to see where I stood as their teacher—a partner in learning, a member of their team.

Yes, at the end of the day, it’s all about teamwork: it’s the child AND you, not the child following you, or the child learning from you. We’re talking about learning TOGETHER, learning PARTNERS, COOPERATION and a unique BUDDY SYSTEM—you and the child.

Thank you for reading and I wish you all the best! :)

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