Decision Making For Kids and Why It is So Important
The action or process of choosing an option is called decision making, to choose the best amongst all available is effective decision making. May it be a simple pen at a younger age, or career options in teenage, a good grip in this skill makes it all easier for the kid to take an effective decision.
Why is it important for a kid?
Kids must be taught to take their own decisions from their very crucial age, and when they do so, a right decision can bring a great amount of contentment. But they should not be discouraged when they take wrong one. Now, making a decision might be very easy or very hard depending upon the situation we are dealing with. To understand it, let’s club a few examples into 3 categories: Easy, Hard & Very Hard.
1. Easy decision: Choosing a pair of shoes for a party
2. Hard decision: Whom to be friends with / which sport do you want to play, with whom?
3. Very Hard decisions: What to do if you see someone getting bullied?
Having too many options to evaluate (information overload) or over thinking about a problem (analysis paralysis) also act as blocks in taking a decision. But if we introduce them to the common blocks to decision making, they can avoid them and make an informed decision, be it easy or tough. It also helps them getting better at effective communication as they learn to avoid these blocks during a conversation as well.
Understanding right and wrong choices
A decision is never right or wrong in itself, but the consequences associated with it can be good or bad. Those are the consequences of decisions that need to be explained to kids. A complete process of decision making involves:
1. Problem definition: To understand the actual problem statement, define it, and know the root cause of it
2. Thinking of all possible solutions: Thinking about all the options available as solutions to the problem
3. Evaluation of solutions: Analyzing all the possible solutions, understanding the pros & cons associated with those solutions and figuring out the consequences
4. Finalizing the decision: Choosing the best option available, thus making an effective decision.
Most often than not, decisions are not fully informed (bad decisions), which can have adverse outcomes. Having full awareness about the process and practicing effective decision making can help build a strong foundation for making informed decisions throughout life.
Here’s an interesting video to walk you through some good (and bad) ways to make BIG decisions.
Challenges faced by kids
Kids tend to learn by observations and examples. It is possible for a kid to struggle with making decisions for obvious reasons. Some of them to mention are:
1. Not knowing what’s right for them
2. Lacking awareness about the problem
3. Unable to think of the possible solutions
4. Worrying about the consequences of a decision
These factors may lead to hesitation in making a choice, making a poor choice, not performing well or collapsing under pressuring situations. But if these issues are all taken care of at the early age, and we provide a very clear picture of the complete decision making map to them, it would be very easy for a kid to develop the art of this important skill.
Is there a solution?
Yes. But it can’t be done by simply asking them to be on their own. They need to be made aware of the whole process of decision making. It is very important to explain each step, starting from defining a problem to finalizing the decision and then taking the responsibility of the consequences of it. A few things that can be taken care of are:
1. Listen more to know if they have a proper understanding of the problem
2. Help them collect the possible solutions
3. Discuss the consequences of those options
3. Induce a feeling of responsibility to sweep out the hesitation
4. Let them deal with the consequences of the decisions they make
The idea is to make them think and analyze more about the whole process instead of the problem.
At Shinxindia, we explain this process to kids by working them through different models and verbal & experiential activities. These activities are designed to walk them through the process of effective decision making, introduce them to common blocks to take decision effectively and ways to identify them. Also, introducing the concepts of probability and estimation to promote logical and critical thinking helps them function exceptionally in their day to day life. These models not only help a kid make a good decision, but also enhance their planning and team working abilities.
Want to know more about our Decision making module. Click here!