In accordance with Article 13 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of a Child, the outcomes of the Governments Every Child Matters framework and the Early Years Foundation Stage, children should be provisioned for by ensuring that children are involved and engaged with, allowing them to be heard, to make decisions, contribute their experiences and be supported and safeguarded throughout their development.
Even from an early age, children’s choices, even simple ones, can have an impact on their life chances and outcomes such as choosing which toys to play with at pre-school or which friends to play with, a child may develop a friendship with another child who is perhaps a bit louder and boisterous and may display unwanted behaviour, this choice of friend may have a negative impact on the child's behaviour at home or in other settings they move onto.
Whilst the child has the right to choose their friends, it is the practitioner responsibility to involve the child in setting expectations of their behaviour and help them to make a positive contribution, which is one of the outcomes of the Every Child Matters framework. According to Tassoni (2010) the EYFS clearly states that a curriculum for children under five years should be balanced of adult-led and child-initiated activities; an environment needs to be rich in resources and displayed in such a way that the children can determine their own play.
Children and young people throughout their lives will make choices such as whether to eat healthy or unhealthy or start smoking or drinking. An early years setting should encourage healthy snacks and encourage parents to supply healthy balanced lunchboxes. The setting should involve the children in activities and discussions about the importance of healthy living but there will come a point where the children can choose for themselves.
If a child/young person chooses to eat unhealthily this will have a negative impact on their wellbeing, they could become overweight, develop diabetes and it could exclude them from taking part in activities, this could continue and have a negative knock on effect throughout their lives perhaps causing them to suffer low self-esteem and become withdrawn from social situations. Children and young people could also be bullied as a result of being fat.
A child may be raised in an environment where they are allowed to play violent computer games or have families who are in trouble with the police. These experiences could have a negative impact on the way the child/young person develops and integrates into society, they may choose to act the same way and get in trouble or they may not like what they have experienced and choose not to.