How to help grade-schoolers gain self-control

By Lexi Walters Wright

When grade-schoolers struggle with self-control, they may need extra help learning to control emotions and impulses.

Some kids react badly when they don’t know what to expect in a situation — or what’s expected of them. Fill kids in ahead of time if an activity might be boring or unpleasant, or if it could take a long time.

It’s important to praise kids’ efforts, too. When you see kids practicing self-control, acknowledge it out loud: ”I love how you waited your turn to talk.” This kind of positive reinforcement helps them feel proud that they can control their behavior.

There are also lots of free and low-costs apps to help young kids build self-control skills, like waiting and managing emotions.

Keep in mind that self-control doesn’t come naturally to all grade-schoolers. But by helping them learn to keep their behavior in check, you make it easier for them to make and keep friends and handle feelings. And that can improve self-esteem in the long run.

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    About the author

    About the author

    Lexi Walters Wright is the former Community Manager at Understood. As a writer and editor, she helps parents make more informed choices for their children and for themselves.

    Reviewed by

    Reviewed by

    Mark J. Griffin, PhD was the founding headmaster of Eagle Hill School, a school for children with specific learning disabilities.