Games to Develop Self-Control in Children

Games to Develop Self-Control in Children

Games to Develop Self-Control in Children

Who knew that playing games would be considered therapy?  We did! 

As our name suggests, Beyond Speech Therapy Specialists go “beyond speech.”  Services delivered by our Licensed Clinical Social Workers provide social-emotional and behavioral therapy that help support the rollercoaster that we can sometimes experience with child development. The ups and downs include it all, often jumping from one extreme to the other.  Everything from fear and worry, impulse control, sadness, anger, frustration, tantrums, family changes and transitions, and social interactions… the list goes on.  We’ve all experienced the extremes at one point or another.  But through it all, we have fun with it — and it’s all about the games! 

Self-control is something we often hear parents say their child struggles with.  Self-control is having the ability to stop and think so that we can make good choices, and games are something that can help with this. Game often involve both strategy and self-control and playing games in therapy makes things fun, interactive and engaging.  Not to mention, when something is interesting to us and our younger counterparts we tend to focus and attend a bit more. Keep in mind that sometimes games are just for fun — but sometimes we plan accordingly and it is purposeful play.  We play with the intention to build and practice skills.  It’s important to be explicit with our intentions.  At the start or end of play, review what self-control is. Give real life examples that we might experience as an adult and then translate them to the kid-friendly world.  For example, we can use the constant struggle we have with not putting that extra piece of pizza on our plates, right? For the kids, it could be something like not sticking their finger in the frosting or blowing out the candles on someone else’s cake! But in reality, self-control in the kid world is a daily struggle.  There are too many temptations!  But making connections and applying strategies to everyday situations should help with awareness and help get your kiddos on the right track! 

Take a look at this list of games that we all know and love so well that actually help to boost self-control. 

Red Light, Green Light / 

Simon Says / Red Light, Green Light

This one will have everyone practicing their self-control AND attention skills. Everyone will have to focus with their eyes and ears!  The leader or “Simon” will give a direction on what to do, but with paying close attention to if “Simon” really says it. Shout out different commands such as, “Simon says to hop on one foot” or “Simon says clap your hands.”  Then shout out a quick command like “Stop!” without the “Simon says” to see if self-control and attending was in full effect! For Red Light, Green Light the littles will need to be focused with eyes and ears again as the leader shouts “green light” which allows for movement in a certain direction and “red light” that signals for an abrupt stop or freeze of movement.  Try playing these games with a larger group and you’ll see more of a challenge when we are tempted by others’ movements! 


This is the quietest and loudest game you will play!  This is a total self-control and game of focus as we work to remove small blocks from a tower and attempt to build a higher tower, all without having it tumble.  It’s a game of silence as kids focus on removing pieces and turns into a game of chaos when the tower falls!  Throughout the game of JENGA, we are reinforcing the basic foundation of self-control as we take our time to stop and think, evaluate the plan or come up with a strategy, and make careful moves.  This one is a winner! 


It’s a word racing game.  Sounds strange, right?  The object of the game is to “blurt” out to advance on the game board.  Kids listen to a definition and race to respond.  You can switch things up depending on how many players you have.  You can have a duel, try to beat a clock and blurt out as many words as possible within a certain time frame, or have others remain silent as you only allow one person to “blurt.” Remaining silent and not blurting out while waiting for your turn is the ultimate challenge! This is especially challenging for kids who, well, blurt out! 

Ready, set… GO! 

Let the games begin! 

 If you would like to know more about Beyond Speech and therapy in-home, please click here!!