Carroll Dragon's Breath
CAREER AWARENESS AND DECISION-MAKING MONTH
What is Decision-Making?
We make heaps of decisions or choices every day. Some of them are pretty easy, like what you wear to school. Some may be harder - like who you will play with, choosing after school activities or who you'll invite to your birthday party. Others may be really hard, like should you just stand and watch someone being bullied? Should you take part in something which could lead to you or your friends getting into trouble? As you grow up the number of choices you are faced with every day grows too.
TIPS FOR HELPING KIDS LEARN TO MAKE DECISIONS
LEARN TO TRUST YOUR BODY
Sometimes our bodies can give us clues about whether our decisions are good or bad. Feeling sick, breathing faster and sweating are all signs that show you are feeling worried or uncertain.
- Maybe you are worried about what may happen?
- Maybe you are worried about hurting someone's feelings.
- Maybe you just don't know what to do?
If your body is giving you these signs then you need to delay making a decision and ask for help from someone you trust.
TALK THINGS OVER
Talking things over with someone you trust is always a good idea. You could go through the decision making steps together - they may have some other ideas or come up with consequences you hadn't thought of. A trusted adult will help you, keep your problem confidential and has your best interests at heart. Even adults look for help from others whom they trust.
MAKE GOOD CHOICES
If you think things through then you will make good choices. Some decisions are about making a choice between right and wrong. Think about:
- How do you know when something you might do is right or wrong?
- Who would care if it is right or wrong?
- Who can help you make the right decision?
Is this decision an important one? That is... could it have a big effect on your life or the lives of people you care about?
ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR DECISIONS
Once you have made a decision, particularly an important decision then you must be prepared to accept the consequences. Some may be more serious than others.
CHARACTER TRAIT OF THE MONTH: COOPERATION
According to author, Debra J. Slover, “Cooperation is a critical skill for life success that requires communication, compassion, and respect. Even a young child three-and–a-half to four years old begins to cooperate. By the age of five or six, they start to understand the true value of cooperation in accomplishing tasks, and it progresses from there. Below are ten ways you can help nurture cooperation in children and help them grow into productive adults:”
1. Listen fully -- Open your heart, eyes, and ears so you can truly listen to how children think and feel about any given situation. The only way you can learn how to teach a child something new is to look for and listen to what they already know and how they feel with empathy. This will show respect for them, and they will experience being heard and known.
2. Model sharing -- Let children see you sharing a skill, an item, your time, or your love. It is also okay to explain to children that you are sharing, and cooperating with others and why.
3. Play games -- Playing games with children teaches cooperation if you pick the right games such as jumping rope, building a puzzle, playing doubles tennis, or a three-legged race. Be sure to play some games for real and demonstrate good sportsmanship. This way they will learn that in life there will be times when they win, and times when they will lose, but in all cases, they can be gracious winners and losers.
4. Encourage teamwork -- Set up situations that will require teamwork, whether that is team sports, team chores, or team planning. They situations should include activities where respectful communication and cooperation are necessary to get the job done.
5. Role reversal --Let children lead the way. Let them plan activities for the day, or dinner for the week, or an entire family vacation, depending upon their age and understanding of budgets and guidelines. Children are never too young to begin learning personal leadership and responsibility.
6. Practice praise -- Catch a child being cooperative and praise them for it. Children love pleasing grownups and acknowledgement. They will be more likely to repeat positive behaviors if they are praised than stop negative behaviors for being punished. Either way they get attention, so why not encourage positive attention. When you see a child being cooperative with a peer, never fail to tell them, "Good job!"
7. Collaborative solutions -- Let children come up with solutions for problems via your guidance and supervision. Try to allow children to work out problems with each other on their own before you intervene. If you do have to intervene, do so by asking questions rather than giving answers and always encourage respect.
8. Allow choices -- Let children make choices that are age appropriate. A two year-old can pick between two things; a ten year-old can help design household chores; and a teenager can certainly pick their own clothing. Allowing children to make their own choices in collaboration with those around them teaches them teamwork, cooperation, and responsibility.
9. The more the merrier -- Make sure to allow plenty of opportunities for children to play and be together. Being with peers their own age will help teach cooperation because they see themselves as equals with the other children. This also allows you teachable moments, but remember to practice praise and not intervene unless necessary.
10. Give to a cause -- Spending time or money on an important cause can teach children cooperation because it teaches them that they are not alone in the world. It teaches them that other people need help, and with the cooperation of many, much can be done.