Article on Teaching Self-Control

Just wanted to share a link to a great article from The New York Times titled Building Self-Control, The American Way by Aamodt and Wang.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/19/opinion/sunday/building-self-control-the-american-way.html?pagewanted=all

During the next week I will post ideas and activities to support developing listening skills, planning, goal setting and follow through skills, sequencing, their attention to detail, attention span and impulse control.  In agreement with the article, these will all be through play.  Here are a few guidelines as you work and play to build new skills.

Avoid Lecture

When you are teaching new skills like goal setting, listening, planning and sequencing you want to avoid lecturing as much as possible.  The best way for children to learn these types of skills is through play and experience.  This means if you are teaching listening skills you want to do this through things like puppet shows, role plays, hypotheticals, storytelling, movement games and art projects.

Gradually Challenge

Whatever the concern, start small and work your way up.  When children are starting with puzzles, you start with simple patterns and few pieces and gradually work the way up to more challenging ones.  It is the same with skills like impulse control and listening.  These are skills that are best to gradually challenge and grow.

Highlight When They Do Well

With life skills, it can be easy to overlook when things go well.  If you have an often impulse child, it can be easy to overlook when they happen to wait patiently in line at the grocery store with you for five minutes.  It is those easy moments that you want to reinforce.  Notice that they did well.  Best to describe the behavior back to them, “you waited to quietly, that was helpful!”

Have fun and grow!

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