Use Fun and Games to Teach Self-control

Fun and Games Really Can Teach Self-control!

By the time your child gets to college, will it matter what his age was when he learned to read, tie his shoes or do long division?  Probably not as much as you might think.  Research shows that what will likely matter more is how well he learned to handle BIG feelings (such as anger), cope with distress, manage difficult situations and the like.  The aforementioned tasks are all part of what is referred to as self-regulation.  And self-regulation and other social-emotional skills have perhaps a bigger influence on our success in life than some of the typical yardsticks we use to measure future success (such as grades, standardized test scores, etc.).  

There are lots of ways in which we can promote self-regulation.  When your child was an infant, you picked him up and comforted him when he was upset.  You helped him calm down.  You helped him regulate his emotions by soothing him.  Eventually, your infant grows and begins to take this task over, by soothing himself.  He'll still need you to act as a guide, but eventually, he'll be able to self-regulate.  So, how can you help? There are lots of ways, but for our purposes today, we'll focus on some fun and games.

Fun and Games
These favorite childhood games do more than just pass the time.  They actually help children develop self-regulation skills.

Red Light, Green Light

Simon Says

Freeze Tag


Each of these games requires that children pay attention, follow directions and control themselves.  And that, as we know, is very important. 

(To help your child better handle anger, check out our introduction to the Anger Toolbox for Kids and grab your free download of our MP3 and select printables!)


Deborah McNelis said…

YES,YES,YES! This is an extremely valuable post! You have clearly explained how self regulation begins at infancy. And, I am thrilled that you have shared how beneficial games like these are for the development of self regulation.
Most people do not realize that the early consistent interaction of a parent and games such as these lead to the development of the thinking area of the brain.
Thank you for your contribution to helping make this common knowledge!

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