10 Ways To Teach Impulse Control
Encourage lots of physical activity
Exercise is one of the best things we can provide our kids. Getting their heart rate up increases blood flow to the brain, allowing for more brain power in challenging situations.
Be a super model
Your kids watch you and learn from you. Model waiting patiently, and narrate what your thoughts are using self talk. For instance, you could say something like "this is a really long line for ice cream, but I know it is going to taste so good that I am going to wait."
Learn through play
Games like Simon Says, Red Light Green Light, Mother May I, and Follow the Leader can help build impulse control skills. But, check out our 5 favorite games that put impulse control skills into practice!
Talk about situations coming up that may be exciting, overwhelming, or frustrating. Discuss what the child can expect and what is expected of them.
Teach your child how to tune into themselves
Talk about and label feelings to build their emotional vocabulary. Build their self-awareness with frequent check-ins throughout the day asking "how are you feeling right now?"
Chores help kids put the fun things on hold while the must-do's get done. Have a set of simple daily chores to build delayed gratification.
Ask your child to repeat directions
You could say something like "before you move, explain the directions back to me." This gets them in the habit of thinking before doing.
Use screen time sparingly, and intentionally
The highly stimulating visual input and immediate gratification kids experience when using screens increases their arousal level, compromising their self-control. The less time screens are used, the more time their nervous system spends at baseline, where their best executive functioning and impulse control happens.
Establish clear limits
Have your kid help you develop a list of household rules and expectations. Include them in discussing what the consequences should be if those rules and expectations are not followed. Be consistent with following through with this plan. Structure and consistency reduces chaos, which can help decrease impulsive behavior.
Do not over-schedule your child
When kids are exhausted, it derails their ability to regulate themselves. Have unstructured time and opportunities to rest.
I hope this list equips you with some strategies to help your child manage their exuberance more effectively!
Until next time, air hugs!
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Hi! Austen here. Pediatric OT obsessed with leggings and all things child development. Welcome to my journal! I hope to educate and empower parents and caregivers with science inspired insights, effective strategies, and confidence.