Responsible decision-making is the ability to make sound judgments about your behavior and how it affects others.
Allow kids to make some choices on their own
As a parent, it may be tempting to step in and make all of the decisions for your child, but this doesn’t allow them to grow their decision-making skills. Instead, at this young age, allow them to make simple choices where you set the boundaries. For example, asking, “Do you want carrots or broccoli with dinner tonight?” instead of, “What vegetable do you want?” makes the decision easier on both of you. You’re allowing a choice, but both choices are good.
Teach your child where to seek help
Knowing whom to go to for help can also be a part of responsible decision-making. Even at this age, you can teach your child about the adults in their life to whom your child can turn. When you’re out with your child, take a little time to point out the “helper adults” in the area. For example, a security officer at the mall or a police station near your local park. Tell your child that if you ever get separated in these areas your child can go here for help.
To learn more about decision-making skills for your child, check out our pre-K decision-making skills page.
Parent Toolkit resources were developed by NBC News Learn with the help of subject-matter experts, including Maurice Elias, Director, Rutgers Social-Emotional and Character Development Lab; Jennifer Miller, Author, Confident Parents, Confident Kids; and Michele Borba, Author and Educational Psychologist.