Buzz-Worthy Scripts: Orders vs Options in Parenting

Use these scripts as a resource to reduce decision fatigue and streamline communication with your children, while helping them feel respected so they can develop a sense of personal agency and control over their lives! 

(For more context on why we suggest options vs orders in parenting and how they can help, read Choice for your children: developing agency through options)

KEY: A = adult, C = child

FOR YOUNGER CHILDREN

Scenario One

Orders:
A: It’s almost time to go! Get your shoes on, quick!
C: I don’t want to put on my shoes!
A: Uggggghhhh…Just move, please!
C: Here, I’ll wear these flip-flops.
A: No, don’t be silly. You have PE today. Just get your sneakers on, and let’s go.
C: NO!

Options:
A: It’s almost time to go! Hmm. I remember you have PE today. Would you like to wear your white slip-ons or your red sneakers today? Both are good options for running and playing.
C: Hmmm. What about my flip-flops?
A: I’m not offering flip-flops for PE. Sneakers or slip-ons will help you have more fun and keep your feet safe. Which do you choose?
C: Sneakers.
A: Nice work! Sneakers it is.
_____

Scenario Two

Orders:
A: Finish your dinner. It’s time to hop in the shower.
C: Nooo, I don’t want to shower!
A: C’mon, you have to get clean. Now, move along or no story tonight!

Options:
A: You played so hard today at the park! Would you like to take a bath or a shower to get clean?
C: Ummmm. Can it be a bubble bath?
A: Sure! But we’ll have to keep it short tonight. It’s getting late and you need lots of rest after such an active day!

_____
FOR OLDER CHILDREN

Scenario One

Orders:
A: Go, hop in the shower before breakfast.
C: Nooo, I wanted to watch TV! I’ll shower after.
A: Why aren’t you listening? Get in the shower!
C: Why aren’t YOU listening? I don’t want to!

Options:
A: We have about an hour before we have to leave. Breakfast will be ready in 15 minutes. Would you rather shower now or after breakfast?
C: After, I guess. Can I watch TV until breakfast?
A: Ok, then.
_____

Scenario Two

Orders:
A: Get started on your homework. You’re behind!
C: I don’t know where to start. There’s too much!
A: Just start already! You’re wasting time whining about it.

Options:
A: Sheesh, this looks like a lot of homework. Do you have a plan to tackle it all tonight?
C: I don’t know. It feels like too much!
A: Ok, let’s take it in steps. You can start with your math worksheets, your vocab, or the social studies report. Which would be best to get done first?
C: Hmm. Maybe the math?
A: Sounds good. I’ll be nearby if you need anything!

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