Activities for Self-Control

toddlers playing at our preschool

It’s no secret that kids have a ton of energy. Kids have so much to explore they need that energy! But there are times when kids have to be able to control the amount of energy and emotion they exhibit. Today’s Busy Blog post will go over a few ways to teach kids how to maintain self-control in their day-to-day life in a way that feels like play.

Blow bubbles. This method seems like its only play, but by blowing bubbles kids are actually consciously controlling their breath in order to physically blow the bubbles. Taking slower and more deliberate breaths helps to calm kids down and allow them to start thinking more clearly and calmly.

Make a “Calm Down Kit.” The key idea here is to have a box or container of items readily available to help a child refocus in the event of a meltdown. Items to include could be fidget toys, stress balls, crayons and coloring books, and small puzzles or cognitive games.

Guide some meditation. While this activity may seem a little mature for kids, there have actually been some great strides made in the “meditation for kids” department. You don’t have to use the word “meditation:” the important part is that you get your kids to be still and either reflect or daydream a bit in a controlled environment. This also helps being able to calm themselves down in the long run. If you have a hard time coming up with a meditation subject on your own, there are tons of YouTube videos specifically for children’s guided meditation.

Practice mindfulness. This is something that even adults struggle with on a day-to-day basis, so it is a great activity to practice together. Practicing mindfulness is a lot easier than it sounds: it is just a way to take in the world around you at this moment, as well as take stock of how you are feeling and reacting to that world. It’s as simple as taking note of what you’re seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and feeling, as well as allowing yourself to calm down and feel more “in the now.” You will be helping your child and yourself by making this a daily practice.

Use positive reinforcement. There is nothing wrong with rewarding your child when they do something right, especially when it comes to behavior. Small treats and rewards feel great for kids when they do the right thing, and the treat doesn’t have to be outrageous. For example, you could give your child a sticker every time they behave appropriately, and once they get a certain amount of stickers you could take them out for ice cream!

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