Maintain and Support Relationships with Children and Young People

When children do not like the results of their own choices, adults often want to pacify them by neutralizing the consequences. Whilst working in a reception class A was so busy a role play area with friends (currently set up as a Post Office) that she did not visit the art table and make a glittery snow picture. When it was time to go home, she saw what the other children had made and she was very upset. “I want to make a snow picture!” she said and started to cry a bit.   The classroom T/A could have taken her to the art table, which was not completely cleaned up yet, and allow her to make a quick picture so she could have one to take home too. But instead, the teacher said, “A, you chose to stay in the kitchen area today and not make a picture. It’s too late now, but tomorrow when you are in we will have other art table out again and I’ll help you remember to visit the art table and make something.” A was still upset as it is hard to accept the consequences of our behaviour sometimes, but the teachers response helped A understand that she had made a decision, a decision with consequences that she must accept. No one had told her what choice to make; she made her choice independently. The teacher offered to help in the future, so A knows she will have support to make better decisions. A’s parents could be displeased with this approach when she tells them tearfully that the teacher would not allow her to make a picture but it can be fully explained to the parents the reasons why A is not coming out with a picture like her classmates, if necessary.
Making choices is like any other skill, unless it is practiced, it will not develop. The choices given should match the skill level of the child. For instance, you might ask whether a child wants to use the puzzles or the blocks. If the child chooses to use the clay instead of either of the choices you have given, that is a choice, too. There are too many possibilities for giving choices to even list them, but...