Teaching youth decision-making skills is vital; the decisions children make will lay out the paths their lives will take as they become mature, healthy adults.
For young ones to learn these vital skills, It’s important that they experience satisfaction when making good decisions and adverse reactions from poor ones. Children can learn from small decisions to make better (and bigger) decisions in the future.
Rachel’s Challenge offers a wide scope of grade-level-appropriate programs that help youth decision-making skills flourish.
By nurturing an environment of acceptance, empathy, and self-awareness, schools can provide students with the tools they need to form good decisions to strengthen not only themselves but also their peers and the environment around them.
The Process of Good Decision-Making
The very first step in developing good decision-making skills happens when the child recognizes when a decision must be made. Children learn these skills by observing their parents, peers, and those around them. They observe when others make decisions and also what the consequences of those decisions are.
Because youngsters lack perspective and experience, they tend to make impulsive decisions focused on receiving immediate satisfaction. Teaching good decision-making involves helping children slow down and think before they act.
When children pause before making a decision, they can ask themselves some important questions:
- Why do I want to do this?
- What are my alternatives?
- What will the consequences of my decision be?
- Is this decision the best one for me?
- How will my decision affect others?
These decision-making skills develop as children mature and learn from their own mistakes. When they completely understand the reasons behind their decisions as well as the consequences of them, good or bad, those skills develop even further.
Rachel’s Challenge: Helping Schools Create Environments Conducive to Good Decision-Making
Since children so often learn by example, schools must cultivate an environment in which children are allowed to feel safe when making decisions. They must also be encouraged to make decisions and feel confident enough to do so.
Rachel’s Challenge offers evidence-based programs that help schools cultivate the environments children need to develop youth decision-making skills.
Teaching youth decision-making skills requires time and patience. Positive results are further deepened when all people within the school, from the students to the administrators and parents are involved.
Teachers can incorporate many excellent youth decision-making activities into the curriculum, and Rachel’s Challenge programs offer valuable, actionable ideas for every grade level from elementary school through high school and beyond.
Cultivating Kind Learning Environments Promotes Youth Decision-Making Skills
Teaching youth decision-making skills is easier and more natural when the school environment is one that fosters kindness, acceptance, and empathy. Empathy is present when children consider the well-being of others when making decisions.
Although the first decisions that very young children make center around themselves, as their skills and empathy develop, those decisions begin to include more consideration for others.
When children make empathetic, thoughtful, and considerate decisions, the positive effects fuel the nurturing environment in the school even further. This contributes to a never-ending cycle of empathy, good decisions, and a safe, healthy environment.
Youth Decision-Making Activities
Teaching youth decision-making skills can be done each day in the classroom by including some excellent activities in the curriculum. Some of the best youth decision-making activities include the following:
- Outdoor games
- Board games
- Role play
- Book discussions
Rachel’s Challenge programs promote mental health and social skills in schools. Each of the following activities encourages self-awareness, self-confidence, empathy, social awareness, and of course, good decision-making.
Outdoor games, especially during recess on the playground, encourage young children to make quick decisions while in a social setting.
During these games, children actively strategize to improve their chances of winning the game. They must make decisions about their own actions, other players’ actions, the rules of the game, and more. Outdoor games also help youngsters solve problems as part of a team.
Critical thinking and decision-making skills are always honed when students engage in healthy debates and discussions. When children are asked to express their opinions and have the freedom to disagree with each other, it fosters decision-making.
Children must decide why and how they agree or disagree with something, and they must also decide what evidence they can use to support their opinions or disagree with others.
Board games provide young children with the opportunity to make decisions in a more structured way than outdoor games. They allow children to experience the consequences of their decisions in a structured setting.
Activities like board games also encourage critical thinking skills as children navigate a game. They must decide how they will play at every turn.
Whether children imagine themselves as firefighters, superheroes, doctors, or anyone else, they can learn to put themselves in someone else’s shoes. When role-playing, children are encouraged to consider other people’s motivations and reasons for their actions.
Role-playing also gives children the chance to make decisions as another person in a situation other than their own, which encourages the development of empathy.
When children look at illustrations and make up their own stories to go along with pictures, they are exercising their youth decision-making skills. As children create stories, they imagine the characters and express the decisions those characters make.
During a book discussion, children think about the decisions characters have made and whether they agree with those decisions. They also develop critical thinking skills as they consider the reasons they agree or disagree with the characters’ decisions.
Encourage Youth Decision-Making with Rachel’s Challenge
Children make decisions every day that are strongly influenced by the expectations, actions, and values that surround them.
Contact us at Rachel’s Challenge for information about our programs for schools or to book a program today. We can help your school be a healthy, happy environment for decision-makers at all grade levels.