You’d think that relying on your older child would be a better idea than doing so on your younger child. But a new study says that younger children are better at decision making than older kids. This study has been conducted by researchers at the University of Waterloo and it has been published in the Journal of Experimental Child Psychology.
As per this research, younger kids make more informed choices because they are not influenced as much by social information as their older counterparts. As children grow older, say investigators, they start ignoring important bits of information that are needed for sound judgement.
An author of this study, Samatha Gualtieri, said, “Children aren’t taking all the information we are giving them at face value.” She further added, “They may be thinking about it in their own way and using the data in the way they think makes the most sense, which is important for parents and teachers to understand.”
The researchers explained that it was at the age of 4 that children began taking shortcuts and they take shortcuts of the level that adults do by when they reach 6 years of age. This experiment involved 288 children and it was assessed how they made decisions on the grounds of three types of information: social info, numerical one, and a combination of both.
It was found that those who were older, they made more use of social information and lagged behind on numerical information. While 95% of 6-year-olds depended on social information, and 70% of 5-year-olds did, only 45% of 4-year-olds relied too much on social information in their process of decision-making.
These younger children were more likely to consider both social as well as numerical information when taking their decisions. This study shows how decision making develops in children as they grow older.
How to teach your kids to make right decisions?
As your child grows up, you don’t want him to be completely dependent on you. There will be several instances in even his preschool life that he will need to make choices when his parents are not present around him. So, what can you do to encourage decision-making skills in your kid?
To teach your child how to make decisions you can engage in an activity of role playing. Children want to be several things – some want to be superheroes while some want to be builders. Role playing would teach your children to decide what they’d do in a decision involving others under their care. You can also read books or tell stories to you kid and then have a discussion on it.
You can let children make small budgeting decisions or other choices. Other ways to teach your children about decision-making include making them learn while playing. Outdoor activities and indoor games such as boardgames can also be helpful. Debates are another way too instill decision-making. However, make sure your child socializes with other kids too for better development.