Helping Kids Learn Self Control can be a tricky task, but one that needs to be mastered, nonetheless. The Intentional Mom has some amazing ideas on how to do just that and we absolutely fell in love with all of the great ideas she shared.
So how does one go about teaching their child to exercise self control? We know how important it will be as they continue to grow and we want them to be respectful and polite, no matter what they are faced with. But, as adults, we know how hard it can be to follow-through with what we initially set out to do, right?! Imagine how hard it would be for a child!
The Intentional Mom discussed how important self control can be to helping a child develop a healthy sense of self-esteem. Having a positive self image will help them over the course of their entire life, so it’s such an important task to master! Just think about how difficult it can be to stare at those fresh chocolate chip cookies that came straight from the oven. We know our kids would be all over those cookies, which shows us a prime example of how self control can come into play every day!
Self control may be difficult for a child to learn, but over time, it will begin to become second nature to them, as most habits will. It’s our job as parents to train our children how to behave with self control, but how?
- Help them to avoid an immediate reaction
It can be hard for children to not want to immediately respond when someone hurts them or promising something that they probably wouldn’t be able to follow through with. The Intentional Mom discussed why it is so important to lead by example when it comes to showing our kids why avoiding an immediate reaction works well. Just by simply telling them, “I will have to think about it” helps them to see that not everything needs to be answered right away or warrants an immediate reaction.
What a great way to talk about how they can avoid careless mistakes and keeping themselves out of trouble by thinking things through.
2. Practice Delayed Gratification
Now this can be a hard one for kids to comprehend. But again, based on the information from The Intentional Mom, it’s a great one to show them through everyday teaching moments that you, as a parent, come across. Everything today is so instant and when someone wants something, it seems like with the push of a button, it’s theirs! So you can see why practicing delayed gratification might be a little tricky with kids.
Model the behavior yourself by avoiding impulse buys when shopping with the kids. Let them know why you aren’t buying something they may want and how the concept of money rules decisions on things that can be purchased. Living within our means is always a great lesson to share with our children and this can be a by-product of exercising self control.
3. Help Your Child Develop Good Habits
Everyday practices like washing hands and brushing teeth are always great habits to help your children get familiar with. These smaller things lead to bigger positive habits that can be developed, as well. Sharing the benefits of exercise, eating healthy foods, being nice to others, etc. are great ways for you to model that good behavior you are trying to instill and self control is required with all of those.
4. Demand Responsible Behavior
Instilling responsible behavior in our kids will also help them learn self control. Having them help with things around the house, giving them specific chores that they need to accomplish and teaching them to save their money for things they may want are great ways to teach them self control! The Intentional Mom talks about how these examples will quickly show a child that when they make a poor decision, there will be a consequence to their actions. Which leads to responsible behavior if they want to turn things around. Genius!
5. Allow Nature to Take Its Course
Phew! It can be a little scary to let the reigns go, but The Intentional Mom discussed why sometimes its necessary for your child to feel the consequences of negative behavior. And when they do make a mistake, it’s the perfect opportunity to talk to your child about how using self control may have brought about a different outcome!
Don’t let these teachable moments pass them by. Sometimes the only way for kids to connect the dots is to let them fall and learn from their mistakes.
We all know that people who can exercise self control in their lives will have an easier time navigating the pitfalls that may arise. They have an easier time in their relationships and won’t find things hold them back as much as those who have a hard time controlling their actions. And isn’t that what we all want for our children?
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