Do any of these instructions sound familiar? “Finish your work before you choose a center.” “Stop talking.” “Walk on the blue line.” “Wait, it’s not your turn.” “Keep your hands to yourself.” Many of our instructions are about self-control.

Self-management skills can be supported and fun at the same time. Check out a few of the ReadyRosie Modeled Moments that encourage self-management.

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School Routine Practice

In the article, Three Strategies for Teaching Children Self-Control, Angela Duckworth at the University of Pennsylvania suggests three strategies to support self-control: Change the Situation, Change Their Thinking, and Change Their Response.

Each strategy is simple and easy to teach. Change the Situation can be as simple as teaching a child to sit away from a sibling (or friend) to avoid the temptation of pestering or talking.

Change Their Thinking involves making children aware of how they interpret different situations. A visual reminder of morning routines will help children stay focused on what they are to do. Break a big project or task down into smaller pieces to help a student see that the assignment is manageable.

Having a plan or “comeback” will help a child maintain self-control when faced with a frustrating, scary, upsetting or exciting situation. Change Their Response allows a child to think about a different way to respond. If a child tends to react to situations by hitting, teach the child to cross their arms for a little hug. To maintain self-control when teased, older children can have a “comeback” line such as “Tell me when you get to the funny part.”