4 steps to helping kids with self discipline

We all want our children to develop the ability to see things through without the need for us to stand over their shoulders making sure that do it. Children who develop self discipline are more productive and successful than their less focused peers because they can complete the goals they set out to achieve.

You’re right. No parent can make their child more self disciplined. The very concept of self discipline shows that the rules, drive, control, perseverance, and discipline must come from the “self” or the “inside” rather than from the outside world. However, we can help them to develop self discipline by providing opportunities to exercise it and recognize it.

(1) Teach them to give it an extra push: Most people, whether children or adults, will only complete 80% of the task before quitting. They just won’t go the extra 20%. When your child is ready to throw in the towel, talk to her about giving the task an extra push. This might mean studying for an extra 15 minutes or spending one more day practicing for the big competition. It may only take a little more time, energy, and focus to get to the end of the task and reap the reward.

(2) Make sure that their goals are achievable: Goals should be challenging but they should also be age-appropriate and reasonable. A child who walks into our academy and wants to be at the top of her class on the very first day is not setting an achievable goal. This can make a child stop trying and give up too soon. Instead, help your child break her goal into achievable steps that she can attain within a reasonable amount of time. Similarly, if she gets 6 out of 10 right on her spelling test each week, help her set a goal to get 7 right next time, and then increase it again until she reaches her ultimate goal.

(3) Show them how to set priorities: Sometimes children feel overloaded and scattered. Help them to prioritize so that they don’t waste time doing things that they shouldn’t. They can label items; “Top priority,” “Important,” and “Complete if you have time.” By doing so, they’ll know that they should complete things in a certain order. Then, they won’t get too tired before completing the important things.

(4) Help them to recognize the rewards of self discipline: The rewards of self discipline are both internal and external. We know that studying hard for a test typically leads to a higher grade (an external reward) but it also can lead to a feeling of pride (an internal reward). Help your children connect these rewards to the decisions they made to stick to the task at hand. “You must be proud of being called up to demonstrate that skill you’ve been working on so hard. You showed self discipline when you practiced everyday even when your sister asked you to play.” By doing this, it will help them recognize what it takes to be successful and they’ll want to do it again

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