Little children are brand new to the world, and no matter how much we may believe that we can make them behave a certain way if we teach them, there are simply some things that are beyond the scope of their age group. Most kids do not develop a strong sense of self-control until they are 3-4 years old, and even then, there are some struggles.
We’ve all been there: we have told our child for the billionth time not to touch the glass bowl on the table, but there they go, touching it again. You’ve asked them a million times not to grab the remote control, yet there they are again, grabbing it up and running. So what gives?
In the brain, we have an area that is responsible for controlling our emotions, controlling our impulses and that governs our executive functioning. In little kids, this area is not developed until the age of three. This is why little toddlers are far more likely to act before thinking because their brains do not have the pathways yet to make them understand when to stop and when to keep going.
Despite this, parents still hold unrealistic expectations for their kids. According to Tuning In, who surveyed this, they found that 56% of parents believe their children have impulse control. 18% of those people believed that by six months of age, their child should understand basic impulse control. 44% of parents understood the age of 3+.
Even at the age of 3 and beyond, your kids need some help. It’s necessary to label emotions, so they understand how to communicate their feelings through this process. Additionally, asking them to repeat directions, so they can make the connection in their mind can be helpful too. Above all, some time and patience, along with consistency, can go a long way.
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