Without this, we would act based only on our whims—not the best choice for most situations.

To think things through, your child will need to develop and listen to her inner voice. Our inner voice represents the thoughts we have when presented with a decision. It tells us the good and bad points of each choice, and helps us predict what would happen once a choice is made.

You can encourage your child to think things through by:

  • Asking questions. “Why do you think that happened?” “What could you have done differently?” Questions like these encourage children to review their behavior and come up with different solutions.
  • Supplying information. “I’ve read that wearing a bike helmet can protect the brain in case of a fall.” This encourages your child to consider consequences. At this age, it often works better than a direct command.
  • Making lists. Next time you have a decision to make, model list-making for your child. Write down the pros and cons of each choice. Use your list when it’s time to choose.

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