There will come a season when your almost-fully-grown child will choose a career to pursue. She will examine her interests, skills, and values, and explore careers that match. Thankfully, much time will lapse between now and then. However, she can learn many skills now that will prepare her to make these substantial decisions. One of the most significant skills is learning to choose a preference.

While you do not want to raise a child who “rules the roost,” at age five, you do want to raise a child who understands her desires and preferences. She will greatly benefit from understanding she can make a choice and that she is encouraged to be an active participant in her world.

You can begin teaching your child to make a decision by presenting her with two options, both of which you are willing to allow. Examples include choosing one of two blankets for naptime, choosing peas or carrots as a vegetable, sitting on daddy’s or sissy’s lap, and choosing which toy to hold.

You can present one option brushed against her right hand as you define it, and offer the second choice alongside her left hand. Assume she intentionally decided whichever option she displays more interest in or moves toward. Over time she will recognize she is making the decision.