Building Impulse Control

Written by Kristin Tallackson, M.A., LPC (OH), LPC-Intern (TX)

Child and Adolescent Specialist

 

Impulse control is an essential skill for completing daily tasks. Impulse control takes place in our prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain that manages executive functions. Children’s brains are continually growing and certain activities can help facilitate growth.

 

What does it mean to act on impulse?

Defining impulsiveness can be tricky. Most think of it as being lazy or thoughtless, but it actually means to lack self-control or to react quickly without thinking. Those who struggle impulse control may disregard rules, spontaneously hit another child, or have strong reactions to what others see as little problems.

 

How can you help?

There are many ways to help your child with impulse control, but perhaps one of the best ways is through games. Games like red light green light, slap jack, mother may I, Simon says, Jenga/Jenga Pass and Operation help children gain impulse control. Other ways you can help include modeling (model the behavior you want to see from your child), teaching delayed gratification, labeling emotions, and remembering that consistency is key.