It is well known that self-control is very important for a child to thrive academically, socially, and emotionally. Self-control is the ability to stop and think before acting – maintaining composure in challenging situations. Therefore, to have self-control you must be aware of your own thoughts and emotions. For parents, teaching self-control becomes a priority, and it is an ability that requires practice to be learned. However, you should keep in mind that babies’ and toddlers’ prefrontal cortex (the part of the brain associated with self-regulation and control) is not fully developed; therefore, it is not reasonable to expect a kid to have self-control like an adult does. If your child is very young, he or she will have trouble effectively controlling emotions, thoughts, and actions – and that’s completely normal! The limits you establish should be according to his or her developmental stage.
Books can be a great way to talk to your little one about self-control! Your child will learn through the different characters and situations in the stories, and talking about it afterwards can help him or her compare and relate them to real life. Have you been introduced to Leslie Patricelli’s books? They are a must – very fun, light, and great for learning about self-control! Look out for these:
No no, Yes yes: This wonderful book goes through different situations and serves as a what to do and what not to do guide. A comical baby will learn about typical behaviors – and their expected responses! Your toddler will love putting these examples into practice!
Quiet LOUD: Another great work from Patricelli – this book will help you teach your toddler about the situations that require a soft voice and the ones in which a loud voice is allowed! Most of the times, it’s in this area in which toddlers need to learn to practice self-control!
It’s important to remember that as a parent, you serve as a model to your children, so act accordingly! Practicing self-control yourself is a great teaching tool!
Have a great week!