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Activities for Self-Disciplined Children

by Tricia Goss

Children who learn self-discipline are more likely to turn in completed assignments on time and less likely to interrupt the classroom or experience angry outbursts. Teaching a child self-control takes time and effort, but when you incorporate some entertaining learning activities, your kids are more likely to enjoy the lesson and actively participate.

Rewarding Patience

Pick a small treat that your child is fond of that he can have several of, such as animal crackers, marbles or stickers. Place a clock or timer on the table and tell your child he can choose to have one treat now, two treats if he waits 10 minutes or four treats if he waits half an hour. This activity teaches your child that self-discipline can result in rewards and also shows him that he is capable of self-control.

Role Play

Ask two or more children to identify an area in which they are currently struggling, such as talking during quiet time, waiting for their turns on the playground or turning in homework on time. Ask the children to play out scenarios tackling the issues, with each child offering an idea that might help the others practice self-discipline. Encourage the kids to rehearse the situations with one another or mentally to help them gain more self-control.

Reverse Actions

Younger children will likely ask to play this game again and again. Not only is it entertaining, but it also teaches self-discipline by causing them to wait for instruction, think about what they will do and act against their automatic responses. For this activity, the kids simply perform the opposite of any action you call out. For instance, if you want them to walk slowly, you might say, "Run fast!" If you have several children, you can let them take turns calling out actions, as well.

Assemble Puzzles

Purchase a jigsaw puzzle that will take your children several days -- or even weeks -- to complete. Set a deadline for completion and ask the kids to determine how many pieces they must put together each day to reach that goal, allowing time for days when they cannot get to it. This activity will help children learn the self-discipline necessary to complete projects and reach personal goals. Plus, it can be an effective family bonding activity.

About the Author

Tricia Goss' credits include Fitness Plus, Good News Tucson and Layover Magazine. She is certified in Microsoft application and served as the newsletter editor for OfficeUsers.org. She has also contributed to The Dollar Stretcher, Life Tips and Childcare Magazine.

Photo Credits

  • Polka Dot/Polka Dot/Getty Images