::: Weplay ::: we play - we learn

  • 2013 / 10 / 14
  • Waiting is also a kind of Ability !!

Mommy takes two-year-old Niki to play on the slide in a park. Niki sees a little boy preparing to take the slide when she is excitedly climbing on the stair. Mommy reminds her that she has to wait after the boy, but instead Niki pushes the boy away and immediately takes the slide by herself. Thelittle boy cries heavily on the slide....Niki's mommy is so worried, "This kind of situation happens quite often. What can I do to teach Niki hou to wait?"

To Develop Good Control Ability, Kids Needs the Help form Adults.

According to the Swiss developmental psychologist, Jean Paul Piaget,children’s development of morality were divided into three stages, including Stage of anomy(0-3 years old), Stage of heteronomy(3-8 years old), and Stage of autonomy(8 years old and above). Actually, before three years old, children have not yet developed good self-control ability. Kids are very impulsive that they cannot well express their emotions. That is why many similar situations often happen in their daily life.

What is the Ability of Self-control?

Being able to cooperate with others and handle personal frustration has great influence on the holistic development, future learning, and interpersonal relationship for children. People who have good self-control ability have better ability to make choices. Therefore, parents have to help their children to develop self-control ability step by step after they were born.

How to Help Children at each Stage to Learn Self Control?

[0-12 months]
Initially, children learn self control through interaction with their parents. New born babies totally cannot
control their emotions and behavior, while parents can help their kids to develop self-control ability
through the following methods:


Help children to ease their emotion: When kids cry, parents can give their kids appropriate response to help them comfort the mood. Some kids like to be embraced tightly, some like to be patted on the back, and some like to be swung. With some external helps, children’s emotion can become stable.


Teach children appropriate behavior: When children explore their surroundings, give them some simple but precise restrictions to tell them what they cannot do and why. For example, they will get shocked if they touch electric sockets, and they will get burned if they touch a stove. Although children cannot completely understand the meanings, these explanations can set rules for them and let them understand the relation between cause and effect.

[12-24 months]
Children at this stage begin to have self-awareness. They want to do everything by themselves, but there are still some things that they “want to do” but do not have the ability to do. As a result, frustration appears.


Give children opportunities to choose: Even though children are little, it is still important to give them
opportunities to choose, such as playing blocks or cars. Let children know that parents believe they have the ability to choose.


Help children understand their emotion: When children find that their feelings are understood by others, they are more easily to calm down. When kids are screaming or hitting people when they do not want to go to bed, parents can tell them, "I know you are very angry because you have to go to bed now, but it is wrong to hit others. You can hit pillows or we can read another book." To teach children to understand this kind of emotion called "angry". Meanwhile, establish children's emotional vocabulary, such as angry, sad, and happy. When children become older, they will then know how to describe their emotions and let others know their feelings.

[24-36 months]
Children at this stage begin to have self-control ability. They can wait temporarily and slightly understand
their parent’s expectation, and they are willing to follow orders. At this stage, parents can start to encourage them to think of other substitute methods. For example, when kids throw things on the ground, parents can discuss with them and let them know that it will mass up the room, or people will get hurt if they step on the things they throw. Parents can also use another way to tell children, "If you want to play throwing things game, then we can throw balls into the laundry basket, or throw the toys into the toy box." This can help to improve children’s self-control ability.


Teach children to wait: Practicing to wait can help children to learn self-control. Teach children to have sympathy. For example, "you want to play this car, but your sister also wants to play it." However, do not keep children waiting for too long, and had better give them some substitutes to transfer their emotions. For example, "you can play the blocks first, after that you can play the cars."


Let children know what they should do afterwards: Let children know the following schedule earlier or give them appropriate reminder to reduce their negative emotions when they have to face the sudden change. For example, "we are going home after 5 minutes, we are going home after you play this toy, or you have to go to bed after reading three books."

Parents are the Imitated Models for Their Children

Before teaching their kids to learn self-control, parents have to control their own emotion first. Parents cannot easily lose control in front of their children, so that they can become children’s role models to teach them how to ease their emotion.


When children's behavior makes their parents angry, parents have to control their emotion and use language to express, "Mommy is very angry because you throw things everywhere."

2. Reduce the times of saying "no" to children. When saying "no" to children, parents have to explain why.
3. Understand children’s ability at each development stage, so then parents will not have unrealistic expectation towards them. This make both sides feel frustrated and angry.
4. Use soft but firm language to tell children about rules that make sense, and tell them about the result if they do not follow the rules.

Learning how th self control is important lesson in life. No matter how old the children are, parents have the reach three important goals, including "teaching children to control their emotion", "expressing their imotion", and "understanding the cause and effect of negative behavior".

[Teacher's Comments]
It's difficult to be good parents. Parents also have thier own emotion, but this is life-long lesson. In recent years, many sad social events and parent-child tragedy happened, because parents cannot control their emotion. Self-control should be considered as the first priority of learning in every generation. Cheer up!!

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