Simple Tips for Developing Self Control in Your Preschooler
Psychologists strongly believe that self-control is one of most important characteristics traits of a healthy, wealthy, and responsible individual. When it comes to teaching self control to kids, it may appear to be a daunting proposition. However, childhood is probably the best time for any individual start developing self-control. Some children around us are more thoughtful by nature, and have a somewhat restrained approach towards life. Luckily, children without these natural qualities can also learn to regulate their emotions. Ideally, development of self-control should start in early childhood, under the guidance of families and teachers.
Why Does Self-Control Matter?
In 1972, Stanford University professor and psychologist Walter Mischel conducted a study on delayed gratification known as Marshmallow test. This experiment revealed that young children capable of showing restraint from temptation are more likely to do better in life. Another study in New Zealand found that self-disciplined kids have a higher probability of growing up into healthier and wealthier adults, and are less likely to be involved in crimes. On the other hand, poor self control can lead to a number of unfortunate outcomes, including addictions, health problems, financial issues, and even a criminal record. The good news is that even very small improvements as a child can make a significant difference in the later stages of life.
Signs of Poor Self-Control
Kids often end up expressing their lack of self-control through different behavioural patterns.
- Short span of attention
- Poor control over impulse
- Restlessness and over activeness
- Getting distracted very easily
- Intolerance to frustration
- Difficulty in taking turns or waiting
- Tendency to lose temper suddenly and unexpectedly
There is no need to worry if you notice any of these signs in your child. You can help your child develop self-control by encouraging him or her to persevere and be independent.
Improving Self Control
There are many simple activities that can work wonders towards improving a child’s self control.
- Cooperative pretend play can be extremely helpful as it helps develop a child’s self-discipline, self-awareness, and ability to empathize with others.
- Children practicing meditation or yoga on a regular basis are less impulsive, and find it easier to wait for something.
- Encourage your preschooler to take on tasks and accomplish them without any help from teachers. This will help them realize how rewarding it is to persevere with challenges.
- Hobbies can also be extremely useful because they inspire children to set goals that may help develop concentration. Therefore, whether your child likes making crafts, collecting baseball cards, or learning facts about dinosaurs, always promote these activities in whichever way you can.
- Playing rule-based games can also help improve self-control by making them capable of delaying gratification and controlling impulses.
- If you can show a bigger future goal to children, they will probably put together a better effort to control their impulse. For example, you can offer a choice between a small treat right now and a dinner treat two days later. Each time your child is able to overcome temptation; his or her self-control skill gets strengthened.
If you want more guidance related your child’s early childhood development, please get in touch with our expert educators at Valley Heights Preschool Long Day Care Centre.