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Can your three-year-old, four-year-old, or five-year-old make good choices by themselves? Yes. Eventually. With your help. This week, we are talking about counting up the costs as we explore Judas’s betrayal of Jesus. See the main page. As we make decisions, it is important to understand that decisions have results. So how do we teach this to our three to five-year-olds? Below is a list of activities that you can do with your child to help them start making good choices. These activities will help give them the base they need to start learning the more significant bible lesson of making wise choices.
Activities (Choose based on maturity level.)
Lay out two outfits for your child. Now, tell them to choose an outfit based on the weather outside. Did they choose the right outfit? Give them praise. No? Explain to them why the other outfit is a better choice. If it is winter, say, “The sweater is better than the T-shirt because you will get cold.” Repeat the exercise to see how their decision-making improves.
Your child is eating a bowl of cereal. Instead of eating as instructed, they decide to play and knock over the bowl spilling the milk. Uh oh! This is a good time to talk about good decisions and poor decisions and reinforce consequences. “I know you didn’t mean to knock over the cereal bowl, but mom told you to stop playing. Now, you have to wipe up the spilled milk. Was that a good decision to play?” Be sure to follow through on the consequences. If they cry because they have to clean up the mess, assure them that everyone makes mistakes. However, you will give them another chance to get it right at the next breakfast.
Sometimes, visual aids help teach good decision-making. Use a chart to demonstrate good decisions and poor decisions. On a chart, place a smiley face and a sad face. When a good decision is made, slide a magnet under the smiley face and show them lots of praise. When a poor decision is made, slide the magnet under the sad face. However, don’t end there. Ask them if they want to keep the sad face or go to the smiley face. Then, show them what to do to get back to the smiley face. That may include them picking up their toys off the floor, sharing, apologizing to a sibling, etc.
What are your suggestions for teaching those ages three to five about making the right choices?
“Train up a child in the way he should go;
even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
Proverbs 22:6 ESV