What Is Self-Control?
Simply stated, self-control is the ability for a person (in this case, a child) to control themselves. Like adults, children have several different ways they can demonstrate self-control. These include:
Physical control. As your preschooler develops complex motor skills, they become increasingly aware of their body in space. The better their strength, balance, coordination, and dexterity become, the more able they are to consciously take control of their movements.
Emotional control. Your now-preschooler was prone to toddler-time outbursts. Emotional skill development during the preschool years typically includes the ability to identify, control, and appropriately display emotions — most, but not all, of the time.
Impulse or cognitive control. As your child develops higher level cognitive (mental and intellectual) skills, they gain the ability to think first and act later. This allows them to control initial impulses and understand consequences.
Even though self-control develops during the preschool years, don’t expect your three-, four-, or five-year-old to wake up one day with the complete ability to control their movements, behavior, emotions, or impulses. This is a skill that your child will develop and build over time.
Why Is Self-Control an Important Kindergarten Readiness Skill?
While both preschool and kindergarten educators have some self-control expectations, it’s likely the kindergarten teacher’s are higher than the preschool teacher’s.
Why might the kindergarten teacher have higher self-control development expectations than the preschool educator? The top reasons why self-control is an important part of the kindergarten day include:
The elementary school environment. Even though your child’s kindergarten class may use some play-based approaches to learning, the kindergarten environment is often more structured and more school-like.
Increased development expectations. Your child’s development will grow by leaps and bounds over the preschool years. By the time they reach kindergarten, the teacher will expect a higher level of emotional, physical, and cognitive development.
The ability to focus. The academic part of the kindergarten curriculum requires students to focus. While your child won’t need to pay attention for excessively long periods, the ability to control their impulses will help them to learn and digest the material.
Other students. Disruptions due to poor self-control can make kindergarten a challenging place to learn. The ability for a child to control their impulses and emotions can make the classroom a less stressful setting and help to build social bonds.
If your child hasn’t exactly mastered self-control yet, don’t worry. Read on for more information on preschoolers, school readiness, and this developmental step.
What Happens If a Preschooler Has Poor Self-Control?
With kindergarten in your child’s near-future, you may wonder if their lack of self-control skills means they should stay in preschool for another year. If you have doubts about your preschooler’s ability to control their body, emotions, or impulses:
Talk to the teacher. The preschool educator sees your child daily and understand what you should expect from their development. Schedule a mini conference or call the teacher to discuss where they are right now and where they could be next fall.
Work on self-control. Help your child to develop this skill at home. Play games, try activities that require your child to follow directions, or ask the teacher for ideas.
Wait and see. Months or half a year may bring on major changes in your child’s development.
Keep in mind, the more chances you give your child to practice using the self-control, the more they’ll develop the skills.
Is your child ready to start preschool and developing more self-control? Contact Advantage Learning Center for more information.