Catch a tiger by the toe.
If he hollers, let him go,
Eeny, meeny, miny, moe. Children's Rhyme
I think we are all familiar with this rhyme which children often use to pick something.
Making choices is difficult for many people, especially small children. It is the job of a parent to help a child learn how to make choices.
I have done a lot of craft shows and street fairs and since I sell children's clothing, I am often able to observe parents and children attempting to make a choice. This brings me to one of my pet peeves.
Small children are often overwhelmed by having to many items to pick from. Expecting them to pick from a full rack of dresses starts out being difficult. If it is hard for you, it is even harder for a 3 or 4 year old.
What then often happens is that the child picks a dress and the parent says "What about this one? I like this one. Don't you want this one?" or some version of this scenario. The child becomes confused because she already picked what she wanted. Not only that, she is getting the message that her choice was not acceptable.
The end result is usually that there is no sale at all. Bad for me, but worse for the child. She is being put in a position in which she was told to do something but then not allowed to do it or told she has done it wrong. Definitely a way to undermine her confidence in her ability to make good choices.
While I am certainly no parenting expert, I have had small children and dealt with this issue with my own children. Giving children the ability to make choices is important to their development but needs to be done in a way that is not overwhelming. Starting out with small decisions lays the ground work for making bigger ones.
Start out by selecting two items and have them pick from those. Doing this gives you some control over the options but allows them to feel that the decision is theirs. This approach works for multiple situations from what to wear to school to which treat to have. As they get older, they can handle more options.
If they make a choice, especially if it is about something that is not really that important - like what to wear on any regular day - then go with it. Is it worth having your child feel inadequate just because she wanted to wear every flowered thing she had at once?
Have a fun day!