Gaining self control refers to a child having power or control over his
or her own actions. This is an important skill for all children
If children always depend on others, especially their parents or
siblings, to make choices for them, they do not learn how to
It follows therefore, that they tend not to take
responsibility for the choices they make, as they tend to see those
choices as others' choices, and not their own.
Children need to learn self
control at an early age
Toddlers tend to discover about
not interrupting adult's conversations as one of their
first learnings about self control.
They also become aware of having to take turns,
and of needing to wait for what they want, instead of having it all
important to be age appropriate in our expectations for their early
learning, however even very
small children begin to learn that instant gratification is not always
possible. Early learning of this will stand them in good
Enable your small child to learn
about self control:
Teach your child to take a break or some timeout when they
Teach your child how to wait during conversations by showing
them how to
listen while others are talking.
Show them HOW to do this by
demonstrating it yourself and using appropriate language to explain
what you expect from them.
For example, Please
wait until I finish the
next sentence and then it's your turn to talk.
Then make sure you
listen while your child is talking.
Too often adults disregard
children's conversation without realising what they are mirroring to
the child by their disregard.
Children need to learn the appropriate skills associated with the
feelings of wanting something that they cannot have.
These skills will
increase children's self control and tolerance of others.
Show your child that he has other choices around wanting something
right now. Explain that he could:
something else to do instead.
* Wait until
it's his turn.
Identifying their feelings
In order for children to gain self
control when they are experiencing
strong feelings in a situation, they must know how to identify those
It is never too early to talk to children about feelings or
to help them see the link between their feelings and their behaviour.
Linking feelings and behaviour together demonstrates clearly how
feelings affect the choices we make, and it can also help children to
improve their self-control.
your children HOW:
1. To THINK about what happened.
2. To THINK of how they feel their feelings in their body.
3. To RECOGNIZE the feeling.
4. To SPEAK it out. I feel sad, mad, angry, happy, pleased, scared……….
Help them to verbalise:
Explain to your child that you want to talk
about feelings and how our feelings can send us messages.
These messages tell us how we feel
about what is happening.
For example, if something is funny you will
feel happy and laugh - and if something is sad you might feel upset and
Ask your child to talk about some examples of his own feelings - for
example, Tell me about
when you felt excited, and a time that you felt
sad. What makes you feel upset? Ask them to tell
you how they know.
In today's world where instant gratification
appears to be the
expectation, your child will be much better equipped in social
situations if you have given opportunities to learn how to name, manage
and control his feelings.
Gaining and having control of himself creates greater self
a stronger self
powerful is he who has himself in his own power -
a Roman philosopher