Advanced Pediatric Therapies

Kid-Powered

Self Control/Self Regulation: What does it all mean?

on April 15, 2014

In the clinic, we often refer to self regulation or self control as an important skill for kids to develop.  Why?  In our media-saturated culture, our kids often have trouble switching gears.  They focused on that little noise when the heat kicks on or so entranced in a game that they can’t even hear you calling them.  We want our kids to be independent, but in order to do that, they have to be able to put distractors aside so that they can focus on something more important, like playing with a sibling or doing their homework.  Not so easy.  But there are some ways kids can practice self control.  Try some of these ideas in your home and see what works for your child.

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1. )  Follow a recipe or start a new game.  Each requires step by step instruction.  It has to be a game your child really wants to play or something they really want to eat.

2.)  They must learn to wait for you.  Don’t drop whatever you’re doing because your child is jumping up and down to get your attention.  The world won’t stop for them so they need some practice waiting.  This may be harder for you than it is for them, but worthwhile.

3.)  Use a timer!  We use one all the time in the clinic.  A visual timer (red denotes the time until the activity is finished) is useful for kids who can’t read numbers.  They know how much time is left and can see it pass.

4.)  Remind them you can help if they need it.  Try not to ask, just inform that you are there if needed.  Questions are often stressful when a child is trying to do something difficult.  Take turns.  Or start and let them finish.

5.)  Start a project that will take an extended amount of time to complete.  Plant a garden.  Work on a Lego Challenge.  Sign up for a race together and train for it.  This teaches patience, and that steady effort and consistency is required.

6.)  Look in the mirror.  You are your child’s greatest teacher.  If you fly off the handle easily or are quick to give up when challenged, consider how your behavior looks to your child.

7.)  Give them some ideas if they are all out.  Tell them you can give them some ideas if they are open to it.  (Post coming up on “coping strategies”)  Suggest getting a drink of water or going out to climb their favorite tree.

8.)  Don’t expect more than their age can deliver.  If a tired toddler is dragged into a supermarket, you really only have yourself to blame!  Set reasonable expectations and your child will be more likely to meet them.

9.)  Give them some down time.  This can’t be overstated.  Research suggests that children who are over-scheduled are more likely to have meltdowns than those who are given more free time during the day.

10.)  Know when to do nothing.  When your child is demonstrating some self control, let them.  The only thing you need to do is give them positive reinforcement for doing so.

Thanks to yourtherapysource.blogspot.com for ideas for this post.

 

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