Self-control is a skill that has to be taught and nurtured in young children. Without the skill, your child could have trouble making and keeping friends, paying attention in class, and following directions at home. If you have a preschool age child, here are some tips for teaching him or her self-control.
Be a Self-Control Role Model
Your child takes many of his or her cues from you. If you respond in an out-of-control manner to various situations, your child will likely mimic this behavior. His or her response could even be a distorted and more amplified version of yours.
Therefore, it is important that you practice good self-control, too. Whenever you are feeling upset, overwhelmed, or stressed, walk away from the situation and take time to calm down. Not only are you modeling good behavior for your child, but you are also giving yourself a chance to think of an appropriate response to the situation.
Give Your Child Independent Tasks to Complete
Learning how to manage one's time and responsibilities is an important part of learning self-control. If your child is not entrusted with tasks that he or she can complete independently, he or she might have trouble when it is time to do work in school. Your child could even suffer from a lack of confidence because his or her independence has not been encouraged.
At home, assign tasks to your child that he or she can do independently. For instance, you can ask your child to pick up all his or her toys each night. You can also talk to his or her daycare teacher to request that your child is given independent tasks throughout the day.
Help Your Child Explore His or Her Emotions
Throughout the course of a day, your child will experience a wide range of emotions, including happiness and anger. In some instances, your child will understand why he or she is experiencing those emotions. In others, your child will need a little help. By helping your child to explore those emotions, you can encourage him or her to take better control over the situations that led to them.
For instance, if your child is showing anger after being picked up from preschool, talk to your child about why he or she is upset. You can also involve the preschool teacher in the discussion. By talking about it with the child, you and the teacher can help your child realize possible ways to avoid feeling angry in the future.