Playing With Self-Control: To Keep Toddlers and Preschoolers on Point
NEW YORK (Stockpickr) — Growing up and living in a world of toys, video games, access to distraction, distraction overkill and more is enough to test any young mind. It’s not a wonder this generation of kids struggles with self-control and how important it is to get a better handle on that for kids with ADHD, especially kids who are on the brink of turning 6, and should be in kindergarten by now.
My daughter’s attitude is refreshing. She struggles with her self-control, but she tries to make sense of what she sees and experiences so she doesn’t repeat those patterns. Even with her. A lot of kids — we always wonder who they pick — are risk takers and don’t feel like the rules are in their control.
Since it’s important to keep self-control on top of her list, she’s surrounded by siblings who do. When she comes to visit I will call her over and spend some time with her and have her go through some of the very basic activities that older kids learn to navigate: brushing her teeth, getting dressed, making sure her clothes and shoes are on, reading, doing school work, staying clean and so on. It’s good to know there are more responsible, disciplined kids in her life — and it’s very handy to keep the clear-headed perspective of the other kids.
But it’s also important to create and practice yourself as well. I like to remind myself that while I’m in the car with my daughter I need to say, “No” to her whimsical requests so that she learns it works better to say, “No, Mom.” It’s also important to try and look at that same request from a different perspective and ask yourself if it would actually make her feel bad if you said “Yes.”
I challenge myself in this way to be sure my self-control skills are up to par for my daughter and others.
We also try to include games and projects in family fun, which strengthens our family connection and provides a nice break from our day to build those self-control and mindfulness skills. Over the holidays, she and I spent time baking or even sneaking a little singing into the room. (She led the way — a nice reminder not to over expose her to (sadly) already unwieldy amounts of music and watching nonstop TV commercials.) Now, we are getting into naptime rituals to improve sleep.
Simple things we do — for no better reason than because we think they’ll help children build self-control — just keep finding new ways to keep them on the radar.
At Stockpickr,Katrina Schwartz contributes to our GM site, an initiative that addresses emerging market investing in emerging markets.
At our site, we’ve written about seven research-based strategies for kids, 12 ways to get kids in the classroom and here’s our annual research-based investing guide for the 2013-2014 school year.
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