We, adults, know that self-control is the most sought after behavioural characteristic and the benefits reaped in practising restraint are amazing. So why not teach the skill of self -control to children from early years to succeed academically, socially, and emotionally. There are specific brain regions essential to self-control which develops with age. The process is slow, and it can be achieved gradually by kids. So we have to proactively make an environment that helps in shaping self-control in the developing brain of very young kids.
The abilities to control impulses, wait for a reward, and to avoid distraction or shift the focus from one activity to another starts from around three years to around six years. This period is often termed as “renaissance period” in the development of brain regions for self-control. The benefits of self-control taught in kids have a direct correlation to the benefits the child reflects in his academic IQ and social awareness and the EQ. Here are the immediate benefits we can reap as parents.
1. The decision-Making Skill:
In today’s world the decision-making ability is much needed in a preschool or even an elementary school interview conduction. Develop a kid with self -control first and decision making becomes a simpler process. The chance of faring better in the interview exam also increases manifold. The children have the self-control to read the question in written interview and answer the multiple choice with better maturity and not impulsively tick the first that comes to their mind. There are many games to boost these process.
2. Improves focus and reduce Distraction:
As the preschooler starts to go to school he or she is often distracted by other activities, and so the attention gets diverted from the instructions the teacher gives. If self-control is taught, then the focus of taking instructions or doing any particular job like painting or similar activities requiring much concentration becomes easy.
3. Memory and IQ booster and cognitive control:
You may wonder what is cognitive control Here is the definition: " is a construct from contemporary cognitive neuroscience that refers to processes that allow information processing and behaviour to vary adaptively from moment to moment depending on current goals, rather than remaining rigid and inflexible.” This has a direct correlation with the memory to process information and holding the information just long enough like planning a chess move or memorising a phone number or dialogue for a school drama. Now, say while learning the dialogue there may be distractions from friends chatting or giggling. The child can quench anger or frustration to these chatting and giggling by using self-control. The impulse to react does not happen immediately. Thus, increases the retention power or memory. We have to remember that all IQ test are conducted not in an entirely controlled situation. The ‘distractors’ are present in all the cases. To perform by surpassing the ‘ distractions’ is the key to IQ test success.
4. Restraints in Social Meltdown:
It is often frustrating to see your kid crying in a middle of a social function. Crying is an impulsive reaction to the frustration or anger the child have been experiencing currently. Self-control helps the kids to steer from the negative emotion to a more stable release of the energy. I have an interesting experience with my daughter to share regarding self-control and frustration. Returning from a hot summer play she wanted an ice lolly. She was exhausted, fatigued and frustrated. I asked her to wait for her to cool down. She instantly refused and wanted the ice lolly immediately. Then all I reminded her was how she got a sore throat after drinking chilled water and could not have her favourite ice cream for an extended period. The three years old could control her impulse and regulate her emotion and was ready to wait. To my amazement, she waited for full 15 minutes and asked whether it was now appropriate to eat the lolly.
5. Self-control and Motivation:
To learn to be self- motivated is important for a kid to pursue their studies or hobbies or even any extracurricular activities. Self-motivation comes from self-control of the short-term goals, and the child must be motivated to achieve the long term goal. No one wants to deny themselves from the benefit of long term goal. However, the conflict between short term and long term is there for the child to process the benefits. It is only with positive motivation the kid may be interested in long term goals which are often abstract for the time being.
The conclusion we can derive from these is that self -control is a life skill which a kid needs to learn from an early age. In the next topic, we will discuss the simple proactive steps to undertake to develop this skill.
The conclusion we can derive from these is self -control is a life skill which must be taught to a kid from an early age. In the next topic we will discuss about the simple proactive steps to undertake to develop this skill.