How much choice do children need?

The answer to this question will vary enormously and responses from adults will be based upon their own experiences.

Experiences of childhood, being parented and parenting all colour our views. And of course if you ask an ‘expert’ for advise then expect something different altogether!

I would like to share with you some of my ideas and thoughts on the topic of  children’s choice, but remember this is just my perspective, there is no absolute here.

Occasionally I hear children being asked to make the most enormously important decisions when they are only three or four years of age. I wonder what this feels like for a child?  To make the choice a parent or carer should make might be a very scary place for a child.

I wonder too what is behind this for the adult? Is it that they want to feel the child is involved, catered for, considered and respected? Perhaps we should remember that in reality the child has already had some enormous decisions made for him or her. No child ever asked to be born, they did not choose their parent they did not choose that one or both parents should work? they didn’t choose which nursery or childminder to be left with?

I believe that children need choice, they need to feel involved, respected and cared for but that means small choices for small children. Asking, ‘would you like egg or cheese on your sandwich?’ is at the appropriate level for most children of  three years old in my opinion.

What is most important is that children feel that they are safe and secure in the care of trusted, reliable adults who can find an answer and a way forward in the most difficult situations.