Last updated on August 2nd, 2021

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Kim West, MSW, Mom of 2, creator of The Sleep Lady Shuffle

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good choices Life is about a series of good choices and bad ones we all make on a daily basis. Every choice you make has a positive or negative impact on your own or your child’s life.
There is no rule book that comes neatly packaged and delivered with your baby at birth.  You get pregnant. Approximately nine months later your baby enters the world, whether you are ready or not.
Then your parenting choices start. Baby names, nursery decor, car seat, sleep routine, parenting books, food, baby proofing your home. All of these are part of raising your child. The real secret to supporting your child is teaching them how to make their own good choices from a young age. Just like any other activity, it’s is a learned skill.

Children need to learn how to make good choices

Let’s start by defining what the word choice means.  The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines it as:
“The opportunity or power to choose between two or more possibilities; the opportunity or power to make a decision.” 
 Many choices in your child’s life are more serious than choosing between what they want to wear or what they want to eat. At a young age, this is usually the natural place you start to give your child small calculated choices. This gives them the foundation of confidence to make bigger, more important choices later.
With practice, your child will start making bigger decisions. The trick is for you to be able to stand back and allow them to do this without too much interference. Even if you think they are making a mistake, your job is simply to help them weigh  the consequences and to be there to act as their safety net.
Developing logical thinking skills and problem-solving supports children’s growing abilities for making good choices. As children develop skills for managing their thinking and their feelings, they become better at putting good choices into practice. Children who have been coached to monitor their thoughts and manage their behavior are able to say to themselves, “Stop! I’d better think about this first.”
Take ten minutes to find out how confident your child is about their choices by doing my free Choice Quiz with them. These easy yes and no answers will open the lines of communication and help you to tap into your child’s mind and offer them more accurate support.

Will your child make good choices even when you aren’t watching?

Your children’s choices are driven by many factors, the biggest one of which is feeling supported.  They need to know that no matter what choices they make, you will support them. There may be consequences if they get it wrong, but these are the stepping stones that build their character. For example, they might choose to not complete their homework even though you have warned them that they will get into trouble with the teacher. Your nagging doesn’t seem to do the trick, so let them feel the consequences to learn the lesson.
Alongside this, you also need to help your child understand that some choices are out of their control and non-negotiable.  As a parent, your job is to set them up to function in a world of rules that consists of all of us making choices based on five needs:

  • Survival – we make choices based on our primitive mechanism to protect ourselves from threat.
  • Belonging – we make choices based on our need for acceptance.
  • Power – we make choices based on the need to feel in control.
  • Freedom – we make choices based on a feeling of independence.
  • Fun – we make choices based on satisfying our need to play and enjoy ourselves.

The problem comes in when your children are given too much freedom, too early on. This leaves them confused and sometimes lacking in the ability to differentiate between what they want and don’t want.
No matter what the choice is, so long as it is safe and age appropriate, once you turn it over to your kids, you need to stand back, bite you tongue and let them go for it. It may be hard to hold back and not offer them advice but, if you do this you are defeating their ability to make independent choices later on.

good choices
The problem comes in when your children are given too much freedom, too early on. This leaves them confused and sometimes lacking in the ability to differentiate between what they want and don’t want

Making good choices easy

The tagline of my organization, The Kids Life Studio®, is “Where Choices are made easy”.  My global team of Kids Life Coaches and I educate children about the physiology of their brain and how powerful their subconscious mind is in directing their behavior.  We coach them to recognize and read their feelings and tap into their inherent ‘gut feel’ that is significant in the body-mind connection.
This way, they learn that each choice has a consequence, and this lays a foundation for their ability to make responsible judgments later on in life.
Children need 3 things to lead them towards independence:

  1. Boundaries
  2. Consistency
  3. Unconditional love

Basing your parenting on these simple fundamentals allows them the opportunity to really enjoy the process of making their choices based on the childhood ingredients of “freedom and fun”.  As a teenager, these shift to basing a lot of choices on gaining a sense of “belonging” and “fitting in”.
Worldwide, good kids are making bad choices because of influences on their outside world, where they don’t always have control, such as peer pressure.Your child may still be far from this stage, but now is the time to support them to make a habit of good choices that impact positively on themselves and those around them.  This will leave them feeling happier, more motivated, and inspired.

How to support your child in their choices

With teen depression, anxiety, suicide, self-harm, and drug and alcohol abuse on the rise, you need to tackle problems before they arise or spiral out of control.
You want your child to be able to make good choices even when you aren’t watching, when there is no reward, or when it is hard. Your child will occasionally get it wrong but you need to give them the freedom to try things out, with you as their safety net.
Parenting can be a challenging time with the multitude of changes, demands, and issues that children could be facing. When parents add their own problems to the mix, it could be a recipe for disaster.
So many parents spend all their time nurturing their children but they neglect the most important person in the relationship — themselves. When this happens, it has the potential to spill over into their children’s lives and this could show up in negative behavior that stops good choices.

Win the EQual Zeal System Parent programme

Three lucky readers can win the EQual Zeal® System Parent programme that supports parents to get back into sync with their own lives and make easier choices relating to raising their children. This easy to use tool offers 28 days of daily activities that will build your Emotional Intelligence.
This transformational programme is specifically designed to support parents in implementing the 4 Pillars for their Childs Success: Happiness, Motivation, Inspiration, and Zeal. Just like regular exercise builds up healthy bodies, the EQual Zeal System® Parent program helps to strengthen a parent’s body, heart, mind and spirit by following an easy self-development process.
Prevention is always better than cure. This EQual Zeal System Parent Programme is aimed at giving you a foundation for supporting your children below the age of 12.  Success breeds success! If you can coach your child to feel this early in life, they will become self-assured and goal-directed, and make better choices.  Most of all, this programme will leave you feeling reassured that your child has the skills to be the leader of their own life, even when you are not around.
Unlike traditional parenting programmes, this one laysyour own foundation for making good choices in your family for everybody’s benefit. Most parents make choices based on “Power” and this 28 day programme will shift your mindset to one that achieves greater co-operation and less resistance from your child.
Use the voucher code SLEEP LADY and get 50% off the Parent Journal or any self paced training at my Kids Life Coach Academy School during the month of April.
Enter below to win the EQual Zeal® System Parent program, a $59 value. 
Kids Life Coaching Giveaway

Author: Kim West, MSW, Mom of 2, creator of The Sleep Lady Shuffle

My name is Kim West, and I’m the mother of two beautiful girls, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has been a practicing child and family therapist for more than 21 years, and the creator of the original gentle, proven method to get a good night’s sleep for you and your child. My sleep journey began when I started experimenting with gently shaping my daughter’s sleep by not following the conventional wisdom at the time. After having success (and then more success with my second daughter!), I began helping family and friends and my step-by-step method spread like wildfire, exactly like an excellent night of sleep for a tired parent should!