How to Teach Impulse Control to Children


Lack of impulse control in children seems to be common but it can lead to many behavioural problems if not addressed early.

Maybe it is okay for a four year old to jump off the chair but if kids really can’t stop themselves from blurting things out or interrupt other people and even do some things that are unsafe to them or others, parents should take necessary steps to control their child’s impulsive behaviour before things get worse over time. Here are some of the best parenting ways to teach children impulse control.

Teach Them to Verbalize Their Feelings

Kids tend to be more impulsive when they do not understand their emotions. Generally, the impulsive part of the brain is not developed well until kids are at least three and a half years old. Teach them to recognize their feelings like ‘happy’, ‘angry’ and ‘sad’ and let them say them out to you. Tell them that it is okay to be angry but it is not acceptable to hit others when they are angry. This will help in teaching them some self-control.

Observe Child Behaviour

Taking a note of their behaviour can provide valuable information for parents as when the kids are actually behaving the way they shouldn’t. If they can’t resist snatching a toy from their friend’s hand, tell them that it is not right to grab and that they have other toys of their own to play. Kids actually do not know when they are impulsive. Calmly point it out to them so that they’ll be able to control their impulsivity before they act.

Play Games That Focus on Impulse Control

Games like Red Light Green Light, Stop and Go, Freeze Dance and others can help children practice impulse control while they enjoy playing. The idea should be to pay attention and not making them sit for long times with boring activities. Otherwise, you could be spoiling the very effort without even you knowing about it. Use children’s play activities as an opportunity to teach them self-control.

Encourage Physical Activity

Make sure that your child gets plenty of physical activity by encouraging them to play outside. Studies reveal that children who spend more time playing outdoors and have the opportunity to run, climb and jump are better equipped to be more self-controlled. Limit the child’s screen time and make them play outside as much as possible and get yourself into the game as well by playing hopscotch, toss a ball or even by playing tag.

Model Good Behaviour

Most of the children take cues from their parents when it comes to managing their emotions. So it makes sense to take your own temperature before you get in to teach self-control to your kids. Rather than reacting to any situation impulsively, respond thoughtfully which makes children learn as they grow. Behaving yourself and healthy self-talk will teach kids to develop an internal dialogue with themselves so that they can manage their emotions.