9 Ways to Help Kids Develop Self Control

Self control is a skill that kids develop over time that contributes to academic, relationship, and life success! Whether it’s managing impulses, staying focused, or regulating emotions, nurturing self control sets the stage for lifelong well being. In this post, we’ll explore nine strategies to help children cultivate self-control effectively. Counselors and caregivers alike can teach kids self control with these strategies:

Wondering how to teach kids self control at school? These 9 tips will help you set kids up for success in the classroom! Self control activities, self control lessons, counseling self control lessons, self control curriculum, self control games

Teach Kids Self Control

1 – Establish Routines

Consistent routines provide structure and predictability, which can help children feel secure and in control. Predictable routines in the classroom are key for setting the stage for a calm classroom environment, and routines can extend to home. Establishing daily routines for tasks like homework, chores, and bedtime can teach children to manage their time and responsibilities more effectively. Visual schedules are a great way to remind kids of those routines!

2- Reduce Environmental Stimuli

Minimizing distractions in the environment can help children stay focused and resist impulsive behaviors. Creating a quiet, clutter-free space for activities that require concentration can support the development of self-control. In the classroom, this can look like minimal and functional visuals on the walls and board or giving students organizational tools to keep desks clean. At home, this can look like reducing noise and the number of screens on at once.

Read more about setting up a calm space at home.

3 – Appropriate Expectations

When kids are overwhelmed by expectations, they’re less likely to try! Set realistic expectations based on the child’s age and developmental stage. Break tasks into manageable steps and provide clear instructions to help children understand what is expected of them, promoting a sense of mastery and accomplishment. Ensure that expected work or focus time is age-appropriate as well.

4 – Predictable Movement Breaks

Incorporating regular movement breaks into daily routines can help children release pent-up energy and improve their ability to focus. Set aside time for short, structured breaks during activities that require sustained attention. These can be yoga movement breaks in the classroom or planned family walks!

5 – Timely Reminders

Gentle reminders can help children stay on track and remember important tasks or instructions. Use visual cues, timers, or verbal prompts to prompt children to pause and reflect on their behavior or choices. Give pre-minders (early reminders) of upcoming transitions so that kids have time to prepare to move their attention in a different direction.

6 – Guided Mindfulness

Teach children mindfulness techniques such as deep breathing, body scans, or guided imagery to help them become more aware of their thoughts and emotions. Practicing mindfulness regularly can enhance self-awareness and impulse control.

7 – Attentive Movement Games

Engage children in movement-based games or activities that require focused attention and coordination. Games like Simon Says or yoga poses can help children practice self-control while having fun and staying active.

Find fun self control games here!

8 – Bring Attention to Sensations

Encourage children to pay attention to their body sensations, such as hunger, fatigue, or stress. Teaching children to recognize and respond to these cues can help them make healthier choices and regulate their emotions more effectively.

Check out one of my favorite books on this topic!

9 – Rest and Fuel

Sleep and food make such a huge impact on kids’ ability to maintain self control. Ensure children get adequate rest and nutrition to support their physical and mental well-being. A balanced diet, sufficient sleep, and regular exercise lay the foundation for good self control and overall attention and focus.

By implementing these strategies consistently and compassionately, parents and caregivers can support children in developing the self-control skills they need to thrive in school, relationships, and beyond. Remember that building self-control is a gradual process that requires patience, encouragement, and positive reinforcement. Together, we can empower children to navigate life’s challenges with confidence and resilience.

Wondering how to teach kids self control at school? These 9 tips will help you set kids up for success in the classroom! Self control activities, self control lessons, counseling self control lessons, self control curriculum, self control games

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Wondering how to teach kids self control at school? These 9 tips will help you set kids up for success in the classroom! Self control activities, self control lessons, counseling self control lessons, self control curriculum, self control games

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