One of the best ways to empower children is by providing them with the ability to feel in control. That sense of control leads to fewer tantrums, more confidence, a sense of responsibility, problem-solving skills and it cultivates a sense of value. But it can be difficult to provide your child with choices all of the time, and parents often don't know where to start, especially when schedules are crazy.

Here are six go-to strategies to build choice into your child's daily routine, without sacrificing on your time:

1. Make the choices small.

Too many choices can be overwhelming for a little one so keeping choices small is key. Asking, "Would you like an apple or banana?" or "Do you want to put your shirt or pants on first?" can provide choices without taking too much time.


Two is typically the optimal number of choices for most kids. When we start to give kids more than two choices, we lose structure and kids become overwhelmed. Minimal choices provide children with a sense of control without bombarding their decision-making skills.

2. Build choices into your daily routine.

Schedule in choices throughout your routine to create a consistent sense of control for everyone. For example, the evenings can be the time to let your little one decide what vegetable they will eat for dinner, or every Sunday you can allow your child to choose between two restaurants for dinner. It is important that, even if routine changes, you acknowledge the change and, ideally, let your child choose whether to be a part of the change.

3. Offer "this or that" choices.

This or that choices are easy to build into almost any time of the day or situation. If your child is having trouble getting in the car, allow them the choice to sit behind the driver or passenger seat. If they can't decide on what shoes to wear and you need to get out the door, offer a blue sneaker or a red sneaker. Simple choices are an easy way to empower a child and avoid a potential tantrum.

4. Stick to their choice.

Sometimes your child is going to want to change their mind, but it is important to stick to their original choice. Being consistent with choices teaches responsibility, builds problem-solving skills and reinforces your child's value in the family. When you begin allowing kids to change the choices they make, it can break the structure and lose the benefits of offering them that power.

5. Give positive reinforcement.

Acknowledge that you recognize what a good choice your child made and how much you appreciate her helping to solve a problem. This will help to build your child's confidence and make her feel confident to make more difficult decisions in the future.

6. Provide only options you agree with.

This might be one of the most important things to remember. If you are not okay with an option, do not present it to your child. Following through on your child's decision is the key to success.

For example, when making your daily schedule, you can allow your child to choose between nearby playgrounds, but don't mention an option you want to avoid, such as a playground that is too far out.

There are many ways to empower your little one and giving a few small choices throughout the day is just one simple way to help raise strong, confident and capable little humans and avoid tantrums.

You might also like:

Motherhood is a practice in learning, growing and loving more than you ever thought possible. Even as a "veteran" mama of four young sons and one newly adopted teenager, Jalyssa Richardson enthusiastically adapts to whatever any given day has in store—a skill she says she's refined through the years.

Here's what just one day in her life looks like:

Jalyssa says she learned to embrace agility throughout her motherhood journey. Here's more from this incredible mama of five boys.

What is the most challenging part of your day as a mom of five?

Time management! I want to meet each of the boys' individual needs—plus show up for myself—but I often feel like someone gets overlooked.

What's the best part of being a mom of five?

The little moments of love. The hugs, the kisses, the cuddles, the smiles... they all serve as little reminders that I am blessed and I'm doing okay.

Are there misconceptions about raising boys?

There are so many misconceptions about raising boys. I think the biggest one is that boys don't have many emotions and they're just so active all the time. My boys display many emotions and they also love to be sweet and cuddly a lot of the time.

What do you think would surprise people the most about being a mom of five?

How much I enjoy it. I never knew I wanted to be a mom until I was pregnant with my first. My desire only grew and the numbers did! I am surprised with every single baby as my capacity to love and nurture grows. It's incredible.

How do you create balance and make time for yourself?

Balance for me looks like intentional planning and scheduling because I never want my boys to feel like they aren't my first priority, but it is extremely difficult. What I try to do is not fit it all into one day. I have work days because motherhood is my first priority. I fit in segments of self-care after the kids' bedtime so I don't grow weary.

What's the biggest lesson you have learned from motherhood?

I have learned that sacrifice is actually beautiful. I was terrified of the selflessness motherhood would require, but I've grown so much through the sacrifice. There is nothing better than living for something bigger than myself.

When did you first feel like a mom? How has your motherhood evolved?

I first felt like a mom when I was pregnant with my first son and I intentionally chose to change my eating habits so my body could be strong and healthy for him. I didn't have to think twice—I just did what I thought would be best for him. That decision being so effortless made me realize I was made for motherhood.

My perspective has changed with each baby as I've realized motherhood doesn't have to be one-size-fits-all. With my first son, I was a by-the-book mama and it was so stressful. With each baby, I have felt more freedom and it has made motherhood so much more beautiful. I have evolved into the mother that they need, I am perfect for these boys.

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Our Partners