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Rhee Helliwell | Jun 19, 2017

3 ways to teach kids self-control

Categories: Children, Health, Tips, Holiday Fun

Most children are impulsive by nature, meaning sometimes it can be tricky for them to exercise self-discipline and control over their behaviour and actions. However, with recent studies showing that kids who displayed greater amounts of self-control, went on to earn better grades and were more popular with peers and teachers, it’s important to nurture this ability sooner rather than later. At Tutor Doctor, we know that learning self-control is something that is taught gradually through discovery and repetition, rather than lectures and punishments. Here are some key ways you can start teaching your kids’ self-control today.

Stop and Think!

Self-control put simply is the ability to consider a decision before making a choice. Start by encouraging your kids to use a ‘Stop and Think’ strategy. It requires them to firstly stop, and then think before making decisions, big or small. Stopping enables children to pause all actions and focus solely on the situation. Once your child has paused, it provides them with the precious time to think. Thinking allows them to look at their choices and consider all the options before proceeding with a decision. Get your kids to ask themselves questions such as ‘How can I handle this?’, ‘Is this really a good idea?’, or ‘Should I check with a teacher or parent first?’ These types of questions allow your child to think logically about the situation, build up self-control and increase their chances of making a good decision.

Build good habits

Helping your kids build up good habits early on is an excellent way to encourage and promote self-control. Firstly, once a habit is formed, even if we don’t feel like doing it, we do it anyway because we know there will be positive results or negative repercussions. This works the same way every time your child tidies their room, brushes their teeth or puts away the activity they have been enjoying. In fact, they’re building up self-control gradually by understanding that everyone has to do things they don’t want to do, but realising it’s the ‘right’ thing to do. After all, if they don’t tidy up after themselves for a whole week, in the end they will have a lot more to clear up, which will be a less enjoyable job than if they had done it the first time.

Enforce limits

One of the key ways your children will learn self-control is to experience what happens when they don’t exercise it. For example, if your child responds disrespectfully to a family member, then it’s crucial they learn the right lesson. Explaining calmly what they have done and why it is wrong, rather than lecturing your child, will help them understand that it would have been much wiser if they had considered their choices before acting. Using appropriate discipline such as not being able to watch TV for the rest of the week, or no fun activities on the weekend will also reinforce to your kids that using self-control by consciously choosing the respectful choice is always the best option.