Most parents know that their child is developing, and they are experiencing almost everything for the first time. This means that they have to learn to navigate the world around them, with little experience to go on. They are prone to emotional outbursts, heightened anxiety and behavioral issues.

Mom is often willing to give them a bit of a pass since they know that they are young, and learning, though they still make sure to implement discipline and structure. However, there may come a point when mom wonders if it has gone “too far.” If her child is really struggling with behavior, she may start looking for answers.

Children can struggle with impulse control, and a lot of that is due to age and development. Some children grow out of their impulse control problems, while others can struggle with it as they age.

RELATED: Tackling Impulse Control In Youth Important For Preventing Future Struggles

We are going to take a look at impulse control in children, what causes it, and how we can teach children to have more control, and this includes specific activities.

Why Do Children Lack Impulse Control?

Child Standing Outside Crying
Photo by Arwan Sutanto on Unsplash

As stated earlier, a lot of the lack of impulse control in children is due to age and development. According to Ready Kids, a lack of impulse control is normal in young children, and it could be triggered by lack of sleep. A young child who is not getting enough sleep is more likely to lack impulse control. A high level of stress can also cause some impulsive behaviors because they are not used to dealing with these feelings.

As a child gets older, they should grow out of this, but for some, it does continue. A lack of impulse control can be blamed on certain conditions like ADHD, bipolar disorders, and other phobias. If mom is concerned that her child is struggling with any of these, she should speak to their doctor about it.

Signs of Lack Of Impulse Control

Angry child

Mom may want to know what some signs are of a lack of impulse control, and they are going to vary for every individual, but there are always certain consistencies mom can find. According to Healthline, there are some common symptoms that are seen in people of all age groups:

  • Lying
  • Stealing
  • Explosive anger
  • Sudden outbursts
  • Harming other people
  • Harming themselves by pulling their hair, etc
  • Overeating

Simple Activities

Children Playing Game
Credit: Unsplash

Some activities to teach impulse control are fun and can be passed off as simple games. This way, you can teach your child impulse control without them realizing that they are learning. According to Alexandria Cooper, there are interactive games that can teach impulse control, and these may be perfect for younger children.

One game is Red Light, Green Light. This game is a great activity for developing minds when it comes to impulse control. This game forces a child to stop, and listen to make sure they are following the rules properly. It forces them to do things they may not want to do, like stop when it is a red light.

Another great game is Simon Says. This is another game that involves them having to stop, listen and pay attention. They have to focus on the instructions and make sure not to do the activity when “Simon” is not said. This takes a lot of control.

Classic board games are also a great option for impulse control, and that is because they are controlled games that require the participants to listen and follow directions carefully.

Something For The Older Child

A Mom Talking To Her Child
via Unsplash / Omar Lopez

The previous activities are likely going to be great for younger children, but older children may not be interested in playing the “childish” games. That means mom has to get creative in thinking of how to teach her older child to gain more impulse control.

According to Very Well Family, a part of the reason children have problems with impulse control is that they cannot label their feelings. Mom can start by teaching her child to label what they are feeling. She can do this by making cue cards that depict emotion, and her child can use one when they need to express themselves.

Another reason why children have impulse control is that they don’t listen to directions. This can lead them to get frustrated, and this is why mom has to make sure that her child is listening to her. A great way to do this is to make sure that they repeat any direction that is given to them. This can be a fun activity, and it makes sure that they are listening when they are being given.

Sources: Ready Kids, Healthline, Alexandria Cooper, Very Well Family