Smart self-control

Any time, Drive time

Give your children some candies, and promise they’ll get more later if they save some.

Goal: Practice self-control; identify situations that trigger loss of control.

Give your children a treat that comes in small pieces (e.g. a small box of raisins or Smarties®). As you give the treat to them, explain that if they have self-control and do not eat it all at once, they will have some later for when they want some more. Leave it at that and see what happens. As the day progresses, use it as an opportunity to talk about the benefits of having self-control.

Questions for discussion
  • When did you eat your candy?
  • Do you still have any left now?
  • Do you wish that you still had some to eat now?
  • If you had chosen to eat it a little at a time, would you still have some now?
  • Would it have been easier to save some for later if you had put it away or asked a parent to care for it for you?

This exercise is applicable to any situation where we are tempted to lose self-control. Work with your children to brainstorm situations where it is better to remove yourself than stay where you are tempted to lose self-control. For example, do not sit beside a friend who you enjoy talking to when you are supposed to be quiet, or choose to leave a play area when tempers are getting heated and you feel angry with a friend.

Note: You may want to repeat this exercise at a later date and see if your children approach it differently after learning about self-control.