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As parents with busy schedules, it's easy for us to build a routine, make decisions and then impose those decisions on our little ones. We want the best for our children and, oftentimes, we believe our choices are what's best.

However, making decisions for our kids does not allow them to feel empowered or prepare them for adulthood. The power of a small choice can go a long way.

The choice can be as simple as allowing them to choose an apple or banana in their lunch or picking their clothes for school—because at the end of the day, it's okay if your child wears animal print leggings with a purple striped dress. The key is to provide our children with choices that empower them while minimizing the impact on our routine.

Here are six important benefits to building choices into your little one's daily routine:

1. Avoid tantrums

Tantrums are often caused by a lack of control. It's a natural human desire to want to feel in control. As adults, we often fail to recognize that children also need to feel in control.

Tantrums do not happen for silly reasons like cutting a sandwich in squares rather than triangles, but because of an underlying feeling of a lack of power. It is important to allow your little one to feel in control whenever possible in order to avoid tantrums. I always tell parents the best way to avoid tantrums and be in control of your child is to make the child feel powerful. You have power when your child feels powerful.

2. Build confidence

Decision-making is an important aspect of building confidence. When your little one makes a decision and it goes well, they are going to feel proud and this is going to help build confidence and continue to build positive decision-making skills through adolescence and adulthood.

3. Cultivate a sense of value

In my opinion, one of the most important (and often overlooked) aspects of parenting is making your child feel valued. Children are often more creative and perceptive than adults. A child's choice has as much value as an adult's, and we want to make sure that our children know that we recognize that and acknowledge the value that they add to the family. Recognizing their small choices is an easy way to empower our children and acknowledge their worth.

4. Teach responsibility

Life is defined by the choices we make, and it's important that we equip our children by teaching decision-making skills starting at a young age. By building small choices into the daily routine, you are teaching your child to be an active part of the decision-making process and allowing them to learn to manage both decisions and their outcomes (whether those outcomes are desired or not).

5. Foster creativity

When we make every decision for our children, we don't allow them the opportunity to use their creativity and develop abstract thinking. Let's face it, as adults we are often rigid and not nearly as creative as our kids. We want to foster their creative thinking rather than shutting it down by being authoritative.

6. Develop problem-solving skills

Not all decisions your child makes will have a positive outcome, and when a decision comes with an undesired response, your child will learn to problem solve through the decision and make a better decision next time. If your little one decides to wear their favorite dress shoes to the muddy park and they get ruined, they will remember that the next time and make a different decision.

Remember mamas, as parents, it's our job to develop our little humans into empathetic, strong and responsible adults. The best way to do that is to give them the space they need to be creative, develop confidence and feel in control of their own body from a young age. Small choices can go a long way—so go for it and allow your little one to start choosing!

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Back when my husband and I were creating our wedding registry, it was a fun, low-pressure opportunity to select some new dishes and linens. After all, I knew a thing or two about stocking my home and making the "wrong decision" with thread count was the only thing that posed any risk to my sleep at night.

Fast-forward a few years to when I created a baby registry before the birth of my first child—and I found the experience to have a much steeper learning curve. Unlike those sheets, it felt like a bad swaddle or bassinet selection would be catastrophic. Unsure of what to expect from motherhood or my baby, I leaned heavily on advice from friends who already ventured into parenthood. (Starting with their reminders to take deep breaths!)

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Now a mom of three little ones under the age of four, I'm happy to be in a position to pass along some baby registry wisdom.

Go shopping with a veteran parent

As first-time parents, my husband and I barely knew the difference between a bouncer and a swing, let alone what specific features we would want. So when a mom friend recommended we head to Walmart to build my registry together—because she found them to carry the trendy brands she loved AND make registering a breeze during her pregnancy—I leapt at the chance.

By walking through the aisles together and actually getting to see the products, I was much more confident in my registry selections. Thanks to that quick, in-store tutorial from my friend, I understood exactly how to match a perfect infant car seat with an extra base and stroller—which is something I would have been clueless about on my own.

Include items at a variety of price points

When it comes down to it, a registry is really a wish list. So, while I had a personal budget for a stroller if it had to come out of my own pocket, this was an opportunity for me to ask for the stroller of my dreams. And, wouldn't you know it? A few family members went in on it together, which made a bigger price tag much more manageable.

At the same time, it's nice to include some of the smaller ticket items that are absolutely essential. I can't even begin to tell you how grateful I was to skip buying my own diapers for those first few weeks. (With super cute patterns, these are also surprisingly fun to give, too!)

Think about the gifts you would like to give

The first time I bought a mom-to-be a gift after my own child was born, I knew immediately what to look for on her registry: a diaper bag backpack, which I had come to have very strong opinions about after battling falling straps with my first diaper bag. This allowed me to feel like I had a personal touch in my gift, even if I brought one pre-selected by her.

I also appreciate it when my friends clearly incorporate their style into their registry choices, like with adorable baby outfits or nursery decor—and there's no sweeter "thank you" than a picture from a friend showing your gift in use.

Ask for things to grow with your child

Even though it's called a baby registry, there's no need to limit yourself to gifts to use before their first birthday. (To this day, I still have people who attended my baby shower to thank for the convertible bed that my oldest child sleeps in!) Knowing that, I would have included more options with long lifespans into my registry—namely, a baby carrier that can be used during the newborn months, baby months and well into the toddler years. A well-designed baby carrier would have saved my back from serious pain because it would have allowed me to comfortably and ergonomically carry my toddler as she made her way into the 25lb+ club. One brand that's designed to grow with your baby and accommodates 7-45 pounds (up to about four years old) and offers both inward and forward-facing positions is Ergobaby. With several different design and style options, you can easily find one that caters to your parenting needs. From an all-in-one carrier, like the Omni 360, that grows with baby from the newborn stages into the toddler years or a newborn-specific carrier, like the Embrace (and don't worry you can later upgrade to a carrier for an older baby, I recommend the 360 Carrier). The best part? All ergonomic designs are supportive and comfortable for both baby and parent, offering extra lumbar support with breathable, lightweight mesh styles. Everyone (even grandparents!) can get a kick out of babywearing, which is a nice and welcomed break for parents. Having one of these on my registry would have certainly made those first few years so much easier.

Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

This article was sponsored by Ergobaby. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.


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