One way to foster independence and personal power, while maintaining limits, is to offer your toddler specific choices whenever possible. Begin as soon as your child can indicate their selection to you, either by pointing, signing or speaking. Most children are ready to participate meaningfully in choice making by 10 or 11 months old.

There are certain times when providing choices can be especially helpful to you. It can ease the transition from one activity to the next, for instance. (“Do you want to carry your hat or your snack to the car?”). Choices can also help provide structure in an overwhelming environment like a large playground.

Finally, think back to your past power struggles over nap time, diaper changing or getting in the car seat. With a little forethought, you might avoid conflict next time by offering your child a choice.

Take a look at a child’s input.

Child's Input

The blue one, please.

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