A Handy Guide to Self-Discipline for Kids

A Handy Guide to Self-Discipline for Kids

Do you feel like self-discipline is the thing that everyone else has?  When you look at your child do you wonder if they’ll ever take out the trash without prompting?  Or put their clothes in the hamper?  It’s the rare child that is so self motivated that they don’t need any self- discipline.

Self-discipline is the ability to do something that you don’t feel like doing.

Kids have a limited supply, but they can increase their capacity for self-discipline over time.

  Those with high levels of self-control have been found to be happier than those with low levels. Click To Tweet

It’s believed this is due to reduced internal conflict. Kids with less self-control are constantly struggling to make decisions between choices.  Those with more self-control can make decisions more rationally, calmly and much more quickly.   It takes a lot of energy to be constantly wavering between the choice of do this or do that. This can result in tiredness and irritability or even slipping into comfortable time wasting habits like video games.

   Increase your ability to control yourself:

   1)  Success without discipline is a myth.  Kids often have an unrealistic view of what it takes to be successful.

Successful people appear to have ten times more talent than the rest of us, but successful people have work very hard to be successful.

  The ability to control your thoughts and actions creates success.  So, your child needs help learning the discipline of controlling their thoughts and actions.  Hard work requires discipline, because it usually isn’t fun.  You can teach your kid that the end is worth the work.

   2)  Don’t let your child wait until they “feel like it” to take action.

With all the games, videos and distractions we have available, it makes sense to your child that those things should be a priority.  Fun and comfort are often at odds.   Self-discipline is used for activities that aren’t as fun as others.  But your child will learn that using  self-discipline frees up more time for activities they like.

   3)  Teach your child to complete tasks.

Let finishing become your family code.  Show them that you are a finisher.  That no matter the chore, see it through to the end.   Is the dishwasher full, but there are still a few more dishes to load?  Make room and get it done. When you start something, finish it. When you do it, your kids will know this is what is expected of them.

   4)  Help your child learn the trick of doing the hardest thing first.

   Everyone’s self-discipline is highest early in day.  Once the toughest chore is done everything else seems easy.

A Handy Guide to Self-Discipline for Kids

    5)  Take time to have fun with your child.

This is the best way to replenish your willpower.  Stress, hunger, and tiredness drain your child’s ability to use self-discipline.  You know how a kid gets when thy’re hungry and tired.  So eat a good meal together and make sure your child gets a full night’s sleep.  Then have some fun!

   6)  When you set a chore for your child, make sure they know the end result and how to measure it.

Whether the outcome is a shoveled driveway, finished homework, or a clean room, tell your child how they will know when they are done.  Self-discipline is easier when you’re child can see what the end will be.

   7)  Develop habits.

Creating a habit of taking out the trash every day after dinner removes the need for discipline.  It’s just on the schedule and needs to be done. Habits are powerful.  Use the power of habit to teach your child how to live life with intention.
   8)  Use affirmations. Ok, this might seem weird for a kid but it helps.

Kids already use affirmations and mantras.  They use nicknames and acronyms to help them remember lessons in school.  Show your child that a distraction like music can make the chore easier.  You know, like A spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down. Keep their mind occupied on something positive while they get their work done.  Chores then Fun.

   9)   Give your child frequent breaks.

Setting a schedule that’s too aggressive will quickly make the kid’s self-discipline go poof.  Give him regular breaks to ensure that he stays alert and fresh. If a child is young, remember not to set to big a task.  Make it age appropriate.


How much self-discipline does your child have?   If she’s a normal child, she may resist unpleasant work.  It’s up to you as her parent to teach her to develop her self-discipline.  She’ll learn that her level of self-discipline can effect her sense of self, her school career, and relationships.  A person learns self-discipline and how to use it.   With enough self-discipline, you can achieve any goal.

About the Author Angie J. Hernandez, C.Ht.

A graduate of the Hypnosis Motivation Institute, Angie J. Hernandez, C.Ht., has her private practice in Milford, Indiana. She is certified in hypnotherapy by the Hypnotherapist's Union Local 472. Angie is the author of "Weight Loss Epiphany: The Workbook" and "The Pretty & Smart Planner. You can find out more about Angie and how to schedule private sessions by calling (574) 658-4686.

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