You are at the homemade ice cream stand after being on the beach all day. The kids are sandy and glowing, and the menu stretches over the entire front side of the building. The kids start screaming requests and quite unrealistic ones at that. Three scoops all different flavors, rainbow sprinkles, root beer floats, yeah - no! So you say calmly, you can have one scoop in a cone or cup. Or you might even try something really brave like this, blackberry chocolate chunk in a cone or cup? You have just taken 50 choices off the table and given two perfectly reasonable ones. And the choice of just which flavor is enough to make anyone feel the pressure of a decision.
When Lucas was fighting nap time we started to play a little choice game. First it was, 3 books or 2? Then he could pick the order of the books. Once the lure of the book picking ran dry, we started what is now our nap time ritual.
~Are you picking books or me? His answer always varies depending on his level of crabbiness.
~After books, lamp on or off? Always on.
~Snuggles or no snuggles? Always snuggles.
~Song or no song? Hush little baby the most common request, sung together.
Inside of those choices the choice of a nap was not in question. He was able to feel control over his mid-day siesta, which for a two year old is golden.The power of a choice can be intoxicating. When the choices are tucked neatly inside what must happen, our feelings of participation are increased and it eliminates some of the fear of unknown.
I was making green smoothies yesterday for a group of over 100 men and women who worked in a big corporation. Green smoothies were not their every day drink. I make a mean green smoothie and I was thrilled, but not surprised, that everyone loved them. When we talked about making smoothies, I told them they had so many choices - kale, collards, parsley, cucumber, romaine and baby spinach. The choice was not whether or not to put green in the blender, but what green it would be.
When Chloe was little and wouldn't get in the car, my mom suggested we say to her, "You can get in the car with a hat on or off."
It's been magical decision making ever since.
Just to add some cuteness to the topic!
Try this choice making with your kids, or if you are a coach with your clients.
How do you make choices? Share some of your wisdom with us.