Constructive Choices

Diana Lang

a young boy plays with train toys at a table
Figure 1. A child playing with toy vehicles. (Photo Source: Pxfuel, DMCA)

Constructive choices are a child-rearing strategy where parents provide the child with options for the child when making decisions.  This allows children to be involved in making choices in their everyday activities, while still maintaining choices that are positive and safe.

This strategy can help children learn how to make decisions, and it teaches and guides children about how to analyze their decision-making abilities so they can eventually make decisions on their own. [1]

How to use this method:

  • Limit the number of times you give a child a choice,
  • Limit the number of choices you give a child (two to four choices work well),
  • Provide developmentally-appropriate choices that keep the child safe and healthy,
  • Support the child’s decision, and
  • Help children think about their choices and the reasoning behind making each decision.


  • A caregiver may give a child a choice to keep playing with their toys inside or to clean up the toys and go play outside.

Key Takeaway

  • Caregivers provide specific options to help guide children’s activities and decision-making abilities.

  1. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education; Board on Children, Youth, and Families; Committee on Supporting the Parents of Young Children. (2016). Parenting knowledge, attitudes, and practices. Retrieved from


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