Improve Your Child’s Impulse Control

You can improve your child’s impulse control. Six-year-old, Evan entered my office, saw me, and said in a loud voice “You’re bald!” He then pushed the handle on the water cooler dispenser which squirted cold water onto the floor.  He walked away and said, “What’s in here?” as he opened a cupboard.  It was immediately clear that Evan had low impulse control.

His mom explained he has difficulty sitting for extended period of time, that he frustrates easily, and cries quickly when things don’t go his way.  Evan also had difficulty waiting his turn and she has to repeat the same direction three or four times for him to act on it. She brought Evan to me for testing because she wanted to know if this was typical boy behavior or something else.

Testing revealed it was something else and, despite his best effort, he did not have control of his impulses. Mom wanted to know how she could teach Evan impulse control.  These strategies helped her, and they might help you too.


First, provide loving boundaries.  Have you ever visited an all you can eat food buffet and just gone wild eating way more yummy food that you should have?  It was a free for all with no limits so if you did not have self-control, you ate too much.  Life can’t be a free for all for our children. They need caring adults to set realistic boundaries for them and they’ll act within those limits.  Teach your child impulse control by providing and practicing written house rules and expectations.


Second, play games that require impulse control.  Remember Simon Says?  Kids shouldn’t move until Simon says so. Freeze tag requires impulse control.  Play the game red light, green light with your child.  Print or buy a book of simple mazes.  Ask your child to trace through the maze without allowing the pencil to touch the side.


If your child’s teacher is on board, donate a copy of Impulse Control Activities & Worksheets for Elementary School Students by Tonia Caselman. Your child isn’t the only one that could improve self control.  Finally, Google “marshmallow test kids” and try this one with your child.  Practice will improve your child’s impulse control.

We Can Help You

We evaluate children ages 4 and up for anxiety, ADHD, dyslexia, learning difficulty, and so much more.  There are many non medication ways to help your child.  Call  (561) 625 4125 or visit