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Self-control is the ability which makes us different from the rest of the animal kingdom. It’s an important factor in human life which determines our behavior, character and sometimes, even future.

Kids with poor self-control and planning abilities are more likely to have aggressive behavior problems. So, what are the different methods by which we can teach students the importance of self-control at an early age?


  1. Encourage students to respond positively to corrections

Children don’t like to be corrected by someone and respond negatively on such occasions. Here comes your part, tell them the good part of these instances and how these are helpful in their learning. This is also the best way to teach them self-discipline. Teach them how to control their impulses in order to learn self-control. It’s a step-by-step method; make sure you don’t miss any.


  1. Test their self-control by giving them rewards

Let’s take the example of the famous marshmallow test – Two kids aged about 5-6yrs participated in an experiment. The researcher told them they can have one marshmallow right now or they can eat two marshmallows after some time. Right after the researcher left the room, one of the kids took the marshmallow, while the other one waited. After the experiment, the researcher studied both of the kids for the next 40 years. He found out that the kid who waited for the second marshmallow is now successful in life and doing well, while the another person is struggling with his life.

This test shows that how self-control plays a significant role in life. Create an environment where you can use rewards as a tool to teach them the importance of self-control.


  1. Play games that involves self-control

Kids love games and what can be better than it to teach them a lesson? Any time we ask kids to play by the rules, we’re encouraging them to develop self-control. But some games are more challenging than others.

There are many games which can be very useful in determining a kid’s ability to control his/her impulses. These games were designed to reinforce inhibition, shifting between rules, and working memory.

Let’s talk about two popular games which you can easily adapt in your daily teaching:


Red Light, Green Light – This game is pretty simple, when a child hears green light, he’s supposed to move and when he hears red light, he’s supposed to freeze. This is the classic version of the game but let’s make it more interesting by introducing a twist.

Make ‘red light’ the cue to move and ‘green light’ the cue to stop. It’s a fun element for children and an important time to judge student’s ability to go out of order.

The Freeze game – Kids dance when the music plays and freeze when it stops. Dance quickly for fast-tempo songs, slowly for slow-tempo songs. And then reverse the cues: Fast music = slow dancing. Slow music = fast dancing.


  1. Help kids in developing their attention skill

The ability to focus and control involves the developing executive functioning skills including the ability to pay attention, learn and remember rules, and the self-control to not act on initial impulses.

Have you ever noticed how easy it is to get lost in your hobbies, and yet it can be so challenging to stay focused for even 10 minutes on a work task that you dread? We have a much bigger capacity for focus and self-control when we are interested in the task, and it is much easier to be engaged and enthralled in something that interests you. Help your student follow their interests and encourage them to invest time in exploring those interests.


  1. Teach them how to plan things

When you plan things in advance, you have the advantage of knowing everything which helps you in maintaining a self-discipline in different situations. Planning makes things easier which also helps in control anger management.

Planning involves a lot of self-talk, which silently affects your ability to perform because it interfered with your potential to create and follow a plan.


  1. It’s time to be their ‘emotion coach’

Being disapproving to students is not helpful, it decreases the kid’s ability to regulate himself. ‘Emotion coaching’ helps children in understanding different things slowly and effectively. Talk to them about their feelings, show empathy and discuss constructive ways to cope.

Just remember, helping students developing a greater capacity for self-control is an on-going effort.