Play therapy techniques to improve children’s self-control


Self-control is not a skill children are born with. It’s something you have to work on to become proficient at. But considering that children only begin to master themselves between the ages of three and a half and four, according to PBS Kids, self-control takes time to the point where taming temper tantrums and the ability to regulate emotions occur frequently. And a great way to help children improve their self-control is to use play therapy techniques.

According Council Cy-Hope, play therapy is beneficial for children between the ages of three and eleven. It is during this period that self-control is refined. Therefore, it makes sense that these age groups should be the target audience for play therapy. self-control can be corrected. This results in a quieter, calmer home space.

RELATED: Artistic Activities Improve Teen Self-Control

Here are play therapy techniques to improve children’s self-control.

ten duck duck goose

Duck Duck Goose is a game where a child walks around a circle of children, gently touching their heads. One of the seated children will be chosen as the “goose” by the child walking in a circle.

Once one of the children is chosen, the “goose” must rise from a seated position and chase the child who named her “goose”, the goal being to tag her before the child who named her chose not to sit down. The “goose” then becomes the person who walks around in a circle to choose the next “goose”.

The game promotes self-control as children must be patient while waiting to see if they are chosen to be “the goose”. But because children only focus on fun, they don’t realize how much they learn in the process.

9 Red light, green light

The red light, the green light is a game based on listening and self-control. Those lacking self-control will struggle to play at first, until they build their skills with this play therapy favorite.

To play there will be a child who is the traffic cop. The traffic policeman will announce a red light, a green light or a yellow light.

As each command is shouted, kids will have to stop, go, or slow down. If a wrong move is made or the kids move when they are supposed to stop, they are sent back to the start.

The child who reaches the traffic cop first wins.

8 Operation

According to Society for the Advancement of Psychotherapyboard games are an excellent form of play therapy. As such, a variety of them are used to help children solve any problems they may have.

For those who have trouble controlling themselves, Operation is a great game to play. Indeed, when it is the child’s turn to try to remove a piece from the game board with the metal tongs, he you have to be patient and take it slow. Those who master themselves will succeed in turn.

Conversely, those who move too quickly will likely lose their turn. Something that can lead to tantrums in children, which is why playing board games with frequency is so important for those working on self-control.

seven follow the leader

Follow the Leader might seem like a very simple game for kids. It is because it is. But for those who find it difficult to control themselves, it can be a tough game to play.

According Autonomous parents, the children’s goal is to pay attention to the movements of the leader. If there is a misstep and the move is not followed, the player who did not imitate the move is out.

The game requires children to pay attention, follow instructions and use concentration to succeed. Something that can only be done when self-control is practiced.

6 Jenga

Jenga is not a fast-paced game. It’s a game of concentration, hand-eye coordination and self-control. As such, it’s a great game for kids looking to build their self-control skills.

The reason self-control is so necessary in Jenga is that to remove a block from a wobbly stack of blocks, players must move slowly and with purpose. When the movements are fast and careless, the whole stack will fall. And the current game is coming to an end.

5 Freeze Tag

The goal of Freeze Tag is to have a team of two players manage to “freeze” the remaining participants by tagging them. If they succeed, the “It” team wins.

If the children being chased are able to continue to “thaw” those who have been frozen, and one of the team members remains in motion after three minutes, the “It” team of two loses.

According The genius of the gamenot only Freeze Tag work on self-control for those who are “it” by having to meticulously tag one player at a time but those being chased must have the self-control to stay put.

Along with this, according to the publication, the game also teaches skills such as:

  • Skills for problem solving

  • Elasticity

  • Social abilities

  • Coordination

  • Gross Motor Skills

  • Balance

Freeze Tag is a great tool for kids. And the best part is that kids don’t even realize they’re being taught anything because they’re too busy having fun.

4 simon says

To play Simon Says, children must listen carefully to what “Simon” says to do. If “Simon” does not say, “Simon says” before the command is shouted, the children are not supposed to move. If “Simon says” is said, children must complete the move until the next move is said.

Their only way to succeed with Simon Says is to be careful and control themselves. If self-control is lacking, correct movements will not be followed and children will be absent. The more the game is played, the stronger the self-control and listening skills become.

3 mother can i

Mother May I is a game where kids have to ask “Mother” for permission to make any move. If the person who is “Mother” says “Yes, you can”, the movements can be performed. But if the children are told “No, you can’t”, the children are not allowed to do the requested movement.

Children can have a tendency to become impatient with this game when they are told that they are not allowed to do something. That’s when they learn to use self-control abilities. If these skills are not used and the children move without permission, they will be sent back to the start. This is something no child wants to happen.

2 hide and seek

One of the most popular play therapy techniques is hide and seek. Indeed, if the children do not want to be found, they must remain silent and motionless. If they call, they will be found and the game is over. As such it is all about self-control to be a successful hider.

Those who seek also practice self-control, according Child’s play in action. This is because it takes patience to find those who are hiding. So if the kids stay in control, they will eventually find the ones hiding. But, if they choose to give up early out of frustration, self-control skills still need to be strengthened.

1 Musical chairs

Playing musical chairs gives children “control over their bodies” according Extension of Michigan State University. And when they do, the self-control is strong.

The reason this game works so well for honing self-control skills is that kids need to have a strategy for sitting down before the song stops. As such, they have to control how fast they go for this to happen. And by to keep the body under control, self-control itself is practiced.

Source: PBS Kids, Cy-Hope Counseling, Society for the Advancement of Psychotherapy, Empowered Parents, The Genius of Play, Child’s Play in Action, Michigan State University Extension


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