• Jessica Diaz

5 Ways to Teach Kids Self-Control

teaching kids self-control

In today’s post, we’ll answer these 3 questions:

  • What does it mean to have self-control?

  • Why is it important for kids to learn self-control?

  • How do I teach my kids self-control?

Plus, we’ll go over:

5 Ways to Teach Your Kids Self-Control

What does it mean to have self-control?

Having self-control means that you’re able to determine your actions.

Why is it important for kids to learn self-control?

Learning self-control can help kids mature into responsible adults. It can help them to develop and achieve goals. Also, they learn to accept things outside of themselves that they can’t control.

How do I teach my kids self-control?

1.) Help your kids to understand that they are responsible for their actions.

Sometimes kids have a tendency to look for other people to blame when things go wrong. Even when they’ve made a mistake, they may claim it was because of someone else. Teach your kids that they may not be able to control the circumstances they find themselves in, but they always have control over their choices and actions.


Your son, Matt, got a D on a math test. He could react in 1 of 2 ways.

Option 1:

Matt gets his test back…

Matt thinks to himself, “I’m just bad at Math. I’m just going to focus on History class…it’s more interesting anyway. And, it was the teacher’s fault for not preparing me for the test, right?"

Option 2:

Matt gets his test back…

Matt thinks to himself, “This grade is really bad. I don’t think I studied enough. I have another test in 2 weeks. I think if I study every day for 30 minutes…and check in with my buddy Tom, when I get stuck…I’ll do a lot better on the next one.”

In option 2, Matt doesn’t make excuses. He takes responsibility. And, he looks for solutions to improve his situation.

2.) Teach realistic expectations

Kids usually don’t have a great understanding of what it takes to complete a task. Whether it’s how much time it will take, how much money it will cost, or the preparation needed.

So, when your kids come home and announce they want to be YouTubers and expect to get millions of subscribers and millions of dollars in no time at all, you may need to help them understand the effort required to attempt a goal of that size.

Asking questions can be a great way to start the process.

Such as…

“What kind of videos do you want to make?”

“What kind of camera do you have to film?”

“Do you have a name for your YouTube channel?”

“How are you going to edit your videos?”

If they have answers for all these questions, Great! But, if not, you may need to sit down with them to hash out a plan.

This can help your kids understand that they may have to be patient and put in a lot of effort to achieve their big goals.

3.) Help them to understand that failure is a learning opportunity

Sometimes failure can stop kids dead in their tracks, which is why it’s so helpful to teach your kids that failure is okay. It just means that they tried something new and that they need more practice before they can really master it.

4.) Teach your kids that they can’t control things outside of themselves

Kids can snuggle with this one: not trying to control things outside of themselves, especially when it comes to people. They’re going to need your help, because this is an important one.

People like to be able to make their own choices; they don’t like being controlled. So, when your kids are always trying to get their way, whether it’s with friends or parents, they’re likely to develop frustration when it doesn’t happen.

So, help your kids learn to accept other peoples’ choices. Let them know that it’s okay to be disappointed, but it’s in their best interest to adapt to the situation.

5.) Be emotionally available

Learning to accept our limitations and our responsibilities can be really hard, so be there for your kids. Let them know that you understand when they’re frustrated, disappointed, or sad. You can also let them know how proud you are of them when they demonstrate self-control and don’t try to control others.


If you want help teaching your kids about self-control, check out my YouTube video below:


If you want even more resources to teach your kids or students about self-control, check out my Self-Control Packet on TeachersPayTeachers. Just click the image below.

self-control curriculum


This Post:

teaching kids self-control


Other Posts you Might Like:

3 steps to teaching kids responsibility

5 ways to teach your kids to be helpful


About the author:

Hi! I'm Jessica from Learning with Jessica Diaz. I'm a teacher and a mother of two. All of the info I have shared with you is a result of what I have learned teaching my own kids and my students, as well as a love of reading and learning! I really hope that this information helps you, and I wish you all the best!

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