The Importance Of Teaching Kids Self-Control

Categories: General Parenting

Self-control is an important life skill all children need to learn. It can also be a tricky one to teach. However, with patience and consistency, we can teach our children the skills required to control their impulses, behaviours and emotions.

This is something kids need to learn from an early age as being able to concentrate, follow instructions and behave appropriately are all things that are paramount to their safety and ability to function in society.

Research also shows that children with low levels of self-control are much more likely to end up using drugs, alcohol and be sexually promiscuous. They are also more likely to struggle with school, employment and even friendships.

Conversely, kids who exhibit self-control are better able to focus in class, behave appropriately, regulate their emotions and make good choices. This in turn has a positive impact on their self-esteem, personal successes and relationships.

Obviously, these are the outcomes parents want most for their children, so how do we help them develop self-control?

Here are a few ideas:

1. Games

There is no better way to reinforce learning with young kids than with games. There are many games that help reinforce self-control and focus in young children. These are often played in kindergartens and early childhood classrooms and can easily be used at home. Some examples include:

  • Musical Statues
  • Red Light, Green Light
  • The Silent Game
  • Simon Says
  • Duck, Duck Goose
  • Hide and Seek

2. Routines

When your child knows what to expect next it is easier for them to regulate their behaviour and emotions. It also makes transitions through the day easier, particularly for tired bodies and brains. Put routines in place for before and after school, as well as bedtime. Don’t forget to schedule in some free play time as well so they can blow off some steam.

3. Be a good role model

As with most things we want to teach our children, we need to model the behaviours we expect from them. If they see their parent exhibiting self-control in their day to day lives, they are more likely to follow your lead. Monkey see, monkey do!

4. Make them wait!

Giving in to your child’s demands can sometimes seem like the easiest way, however by doing this they are not learning patience or how to control their desires. Teaching them about anticipation and making them wait for things is an important part of mastering self-control.

These are just a few tips on teaching kids self-control. For more great ideas, watch Dr Justin Coulson’s video “How To Teach Your Child Self Control” on ParentTV.