Naptime Nugget #9 - Promoting Impulse Control in Young Children

Updated: Oct 15, 2020

Common belief: Children today are more "out of control" and lack impulse-control more than ever! Some blame parents, others media, still others the culture or style children are being raised in today. But, is it true? And, if it is, what can you do about it?! When young children learn to control their impulses, it leads to less stress for the adults who care for them. But, it also helps set the child up for success, better outcomes, and increased happiness, in school AND in life.

But is it the truth? Studies indicate children not only have higher IQs today, they have an increased ability to have self-control! For example, in one major "redo" of the famous marshmallow test from the 1960s, the children actually had more self-control than kids in the '60s and '80s! The question the study asked - would today's children be able to wait as long as children in previous decades had for the promised second marshmallow? Could they still resist swallowing the wonderful white goo for the full 15 minutes? Today's children were actually able to wait longer, on average a whole two minutes longer for the second marshmallow! Visit the research article for more.

*How can we help children develop this critical skill?

*View the Facebook Naptime Nuggets recording of the live broadcast to hear more, get two valuable tips, and read participants' valuable insight! You can also check out the two tips below.

*Join the Facebook Group - Focus and Self-Control for more resources, videos, tips, and answers to your questions!

Naptime Nuggets Live Facebook Video:

TOP Two Tips:

*Be predictable and reliable. If children trust you (and believe that you will follow through), they are more likely to delay gratification, wait, share, etc (see Washington Post Article for more on this newer study). If the adult is reliable, the child will wait even longer and resist the impulse! A reliable relationship actually helps children maintain control and wait longer than other children! Say it and mean it. You will be building a skill!

*Give children down time. The reality is, when we are stressed or overwhelmed, we may not behave well either! After school, childcare, or a lot of adult-directed time, give children time to decompress, run outside, do art or explore other creative activities - WITHOUT an adult directing, interrupting, or taking over.

Remember, what adults do matters! I know we want what is best for young children. So we teach, direct, assist, enroll, and provide input, over and over and over. But, we all need time to find a calm space, hear our inner voice, and explore our wonderful world. Give it, and you will find a more balanced, less anxious, and more "in control" child.

Thank you for reading this blog! We truly are more together. :)

Raelene Ostberg

Early Childhood Specialist and Life Long Learner


Wonderful tools collected from Harvard! -

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