*originally posted 1/2009*
Let me tell you about a ten year old child that had freedom of choice. That child is my daughter Jacqueline.
I hear all the time…”If I let my kids have freedom over their food, they’ll eat chips all day” or “If I let my child have freedom over video games, they’ll play 24 hours a day”. Sure….if all they know is control and someone else making their choices for them, OF COURSE they’re going to choose to eat chips all day because they think they’ll never get the chance to eat what they want again.
Back to Jacqueline…..
A child that has freedom of choosing her own bedtime, chooses to go to be around 9:30 and gets up on her own about 7:30. There are times she stays up later or wakes up later, but she found her own bodies sleep pattern and she listens to it. When I first gave her the freedom of choosing her own bedtime, she chose to stay up really late for a while, because it was new…but that wore off and she got herself into a pattern.
A child that has freedom to eat what she wants, when she wants and how much she wants, chose today to buy a Granny Smith apple, with her money, while we were out shopping. She enjoys ice cream and candy, but she enjoys grapes and celery just as much. She is learning to listen to her body. She is able to choose healthy foods because she is able to make that choice. She wouldn’t be able to do that if I made her choices for her.
A child that has freedom to choose when she plays video games, chooses to also read, play on our trampoline and go bike riding. Video games don’t hold a special power over her because to her, they’re treated the same as other fun activities.
A child that has freedom over what she watches on TV, chooses to watch documentaries and shows about how volcanoes form. She also enjoys The Price Is Right, Hannah Montana and America’s Funniest Home Videos. She’s not a zombie, sitting in front of the screen. She’s actively listening and learning.
Start small. Say “yes” more. Play video games with your child. Model the behavior you want. A child that has freedom of choice…is a free child. Freedom! What a great gift to give a child.choice, choices, food, freedom, freedom of choice, fun activities, healthy foods, joy, learning, video games