Teaching Your Child about Self Control - Tips and Activities

How to Teach Kids Self Control – Tips & Activities

Raising kids is not easy. If you keep fulfilling their demands, they don’t understand the value of it; if you don’t fulfil their demands then they throw tantrums. If you are at a party or at a crowded place and your kids act stubborn and throw tantrums, it can be frustrating not to mention embarrassing for parents. But how do you deal with this kind of behaviour of your kids? Do you shout at them or do you politely explain to them? If your kids are demanding and do not listen to you, then worry not! There are a few ways to deal with children when they have a meltdown in public, and one of the ways that you can try is by teaching them self-control. Find out how you can teach self-control to kids.

Why Is it Important to Teach Self Control to Kids?

The art of self-control is an essential skill for children to learn as it will help them grow into matured adults later in life. The skill of self-control can be useful for children in their day-to-day life. Teaching them to control their emotions in case of conflicts, control their reckless behaviour, and understand delayed gratification, – all these things fall under the art of self-control which will evolve them into mature human beings.

Children with a lack of self-control face more behavioural problems as compared to their peers, which is another vital reason to teach them this art. But what is self-control for kids? Sometimes as parents, we think that it is easier to give in to the demands of a child instead of dealing with screaming, crying and tantrums of him, this is perhaps the reason why a child becomes stubborn in the first place. But, with a little patience, you can mould the behaviour of your child.

Ways to Teach Self Control to a Child

Below are a few activities and strategies that can try with your child to teach him the art of self-control:

1. Use the Reward Technique

Children are more likely to repeat good behaviour if you try some positive reinforcement. Give your kid rewards for displaying self-control in different situations. For example, you can give him a sticker calendar, for every act of self-control exhibited by him every single day. This will make your kiddo happier and he will soon master this skill.

A mother rewarding her child

2. Teach Your Child to Respond When Summoned

Teach your child that if you call him from somewhere, he shouldn’t just yell ‘what’ from where he is, he should, in fact, come where you are and have a conversation with you. This will help your kid learn that’s self-control also means giving up what he is doing in favour of doing something else.

3. Use Reminders

Children are easily distracted and have trouble remembering things. So as parents, giving your child timely reminders will help him learn the art of self-control more easily. For example, when your child is angry, immediately remind him what you taught him about self-control and ask him to take deep breaths to calm down. You can also remind him every day before he goes to school to be nice to other kids and practice self-control if his peers say something mean to him and not to get angry.

4. Set Rules

This is very important for younger children. You need to explain clearly the rules to your child, what is expected of him, what is allowed and what is not. This way you can help him master self-control in a regulated manner. The simpler the rules and the clearer they are conveyed to your child, the easier it will be for him to remember them.

A mother explaining her child

5. Be a Role Model

Children look up to their parents and often mimic what they do. An excellent way to teach your child self-control is to practice it yourself in front of them. Be a good role model because your child will practice self-control by watching you. For example, when you get angry, don’t reach in front of your child. Show him that you are keeping your anger in check – smile and talk it out. When his bedtime approaches, firmly turn off the TV and tell your kid that you need to go to sleep as it is your bedtime, too. He will learn from you and won’t throw tantrums!

6. Don’t Compromise with Your Child’s Bedtime

Children always make a fuss to go to bed at night. Use their reluctance to go to bed like a good opportunity to teach them self-control and self-discipline. Make your child follow a consistent routine before bed so that he can sleep at his proper time without fussing.

7. Turn Chores into Games

Children will master the art of self-control easily if they enjoy learning it. So turn chores like cleaning toys or doing homework into a fun game with some tangible excitement at the end, like a reward. This will motivate them.

8. Give a Break

If kids exhibit self-control in one task, this will tire them out, and they may not do the same with the second task. So give them a break once in a while. This will help them learn self-control at a gradual pace until they become mature enough to practice it consistently without help.

9. Change Your Response to Misbehavior

Giving into your child’s demand because he is screaming or shouting will not help him learn self-control. Being firm and unyielding without raising your voice or resorting to threats can go a long way to teach your child self-control. This will surely take a lot of patience on the part of the parent, but the benefits will outweigh that.

Self-Control Activities Your Child will Enjoy

There are many self-control activities for preschoolers you can do which will make them enjoy themselves in the process. Here are a few –

1. Marshmallow Test

Give your child a marshmallow and tell him he can eat it right away if he wants but if he waits 15 minutes before eating it, then you will give him another marshmallow as a reward. This is an excellent, fun way to help him work on his self-control.

2. Green Light, Red Light

This is a movement game for teaching toddlers self-control, where your child has to dance, jump and move around when you yell green light. And when you shout red light, he should stand still as a statue. It will be amusing to see your kid struggle and hold still while tempted to jump about.

3. Blowing Bubbles

Blowing bubbles is an activity which restores calm, thanks to the motion of taking deep breaths. Whenever your child begins showing signs of being upset, ask him to blow bubbles so that he can practice self-control. Similarly, you can also give your child items like fidget spinners or stress balls and tell him to use them whenever he feels angry, irritated, or sad.

A kid blowing bubbles

4. Play Hide-and-Seek

Hide-and-seek is a great game to teach a child about maintaining their composure. Staying absolutely silent and waiting until someone finds you is a perfect practice for self-control. This will help your kid to learn that in an enjoyable way.

5. Chewing Gum Test

Give your child a stick of gum and tell him to hold it in his mouth without biting. If he succeeds, he gets a treat. This might be a bit hard but is a good activity to teach self-control to kids.

6. Play Twister

Twister is a great game to help a child develop motor skillsattention skills, and self-control, too. It will even encourage him to learn about cooperative team effort and how to follow the rules.

Kids playing twister game with their mother

7. No-Laughing Game

This is a well-known game where you take turns to make each other laugh. You can take turns with your kid when playing this game. Eye contact is a must, and no touching is allowed. It is an activity guaranteed to help your child learn the art of self-control while he is struggling to keep his face neutral and not laugh.

Teaching self-control to a child does take a certain amount of time, dedication, and patience, but it can prepare your child for the future. Your child will grow up to become a confident, successful adult, capable of fighting any battle along the way. All big things start small, so help your child master the art of self-control and see him evolve into a good human being!

Also Read: Ways To Manage Out Of Control Child

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Aarohi Achwal holds a bachelor’s degree in Commerce and a master’s degree in English Literature. While working as an intern for an English daily, she realised that she likes writing above anything else. The idea of being heard without having to speak appeals to her. She likes to write research-based articles that are informative and relevant. She has written articles on pregnancy, parenting, and relationships. And she would like to continue creating content on health and lifestyle.