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4 Strategies to Teach Your Children Self-Control and Delayed Gratification

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One of the most important lessons to teach kids that will make their adulthood more successful is teaching self-control and delayed gratification.

Children who are taught self-control are more likely to grow to have financially secure and trouble-free adulthoods. Delayed gratification also has many different benefits. People that learn to manage their needs in the moment can thrive in careers, relationships, health and finances.

Delayed gratification takes teaching discipline and the ability to manage impulses. This can be hard to teach children and will definitely take time. But starting to do so early can have lasting benefits to raising competent and successful adults.

There are many different strategies that you can implement with your parenting style in order to teach your children delayed gratification.

Consistently reward self-control

Rewarding self-control can start with many of these other strategies to teach delayed gratification, like teaching them to save money, however this can be in taught through many other behaviors. Praise the simple efforts for self-control. This can include waiting to drink some juice or eat a cookie. Make sure they understand your expectations in certain situations they may consider tiresome or boring. Praise them for positive behavior and give them chances to take breaks and calm down if they are upset or angry.

Model self-control for your children

Model this behavior for your child. Do whatever you can to curb your own frustrations. Remain calm. Show and speak to them about saving, buying things you’d like and waiting to do so at the right time.

Teach children to use distractions

When your child is in a situation that is uncomfortable teach them how they can use distractions to work through the situation in a calm and productive manner. This can include counting, finding a different activity and focus their attention somewhere else.

Develop and practice “If-Then” plans and to set achievable goals

Help your child create plans, set goals, and implement those plans. Help them understand what they want, what they need to get that, and how to get what they need. Set up achievable steps with your child to achieve their ultimate goal. Prioritize those steps and celebrate with them as each goal is achieved.

How do you remember learning delayed gratification as a child? How do you feel it has helped you as an adult?


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  1. I love this! It is so important to teach kids patience and to slow down in today’s busy world. It’s okay to not get everything you want the instant you want it!

  2. Thank you for your tips, it is exactly what I am looking for. We began to work recently on this with our older son.

  3. YES! Children learn through our actions, not what we say. SO I firmly believe that we should lead by example. For example, adults are always so shocked when I say please and thank you whenever I ask my daughter to do something for me. She appreciates being asked, rather than told. She also appreciates that I treat her more like an adult and use my manners with her as well. It helps to keep her on track. I try to lead by example in all aspects of parenting, not just manners.

  4. I like working through distractions in a calm matter. I can relate to this part of the article

  5. This is a skill I’ve honed as an adult. And, I think it’s so important to teach kids. Especially when it comes to finances and emotions (taking a moment to think and process before reacting). Thanks for sharing!

  6. Great tips. Self-control and delayed gratification are very important. It serves people well in life. Not the funnest thing to learn but definitely one of the most useful.

  7. Such great tips all around! Sometimes easier said than done (could totally have used this at homework time earlier today!), but spot-on;. great resource – thanks! 🙂

  8. Thank you for this. I feel like I am always telling my daughter to be patient. She’s 8 and is slowly grasping the concept.

  9. These are some great tips! I’m working most of them now with my toddler and it is not easy.

  10. […] 4 Strategies to Teach Your Children Self-Control and Delayed Gratification […]

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