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Building Self-Determination in a Pandemic

We love to feel in control as humans. At this point in time, many of us have been feeling out of control and need to remind ourselves that we can be self-determined even in these circumstances. Children and young adults also need this reminder and the ability to make decisions for themselves. They need to become self-determined.

Self-determination is a key indicator of successful adult-life outcomes.

What is self-determination?

Self-determination is, at its foundation, someone being in control and making decisions about their life. Giving voice and choice to all people no matter their ability level is crucial. Voice and choice, being able to make basic decisions, is crucial and builds self-determination in individuals.

During this time here are two ways you can work to develop self-determination within your child.

1. Goal Setting

This is something you can do with your child at any age and stage. The goal could be simple or complex. Ask your child what is something they really want to do and start from there.

Some examples: I will read a book once a day, I will take the trash out, I will save $50 dollar to buy ____. Once you set a goal with your child, it is important to take action and adjust as needed. Having a goal chart could also support reaching their goal.

2. Making Decisions: Voice and Choice

Every decision matters. Making choices and decisions is something your child can do daily. Offering them choices when it comes to their food, free time, clothes, what game they will play, to what they want to watch, all supports their self-determination!

Start here. Don't feel that you have to do 10 things right now. Life during this pandemic can feel overwhelming. Start by simply allowing your child to set a goal and to make their own decisions daily. These are invaluable ways to support your child's self-determination development today!

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