How to Teach Your Child Self-Discipline (And Why It's So Important!)



1.  What does it mean to have self-discipline?
2. Why is self-discipline important?
3. How to teach self-discipline to your child


Does your child quit easily? Do you find yourself constantly nagging them to get their chores done or to focus on their homework? Seems they are lacking self-discipline! Let’s look at how to teach this important skill.

Ah, self-discipline. Such a necessary skill for students to have, yet so difficult to teach. But it doesn’t need to be that way! Use these simple tips to start developing your child’s self-discipline today.



What does it mean to have self-discipline?


Self-discipline is also referred to as self-control. It’s an essential skill to have not only for students, but for adults as well! When you have self-discipline, you:

  • Are able to wait, say in a queue or for a turn
  • Can handle challenges and persevere through them rather than quit
  • Can manage strong emotions appropriately 😡
  • Can control impulses 

Why is self-discipline important?


All students need self-regulation. In fact, poor self-regulation leads to lower academic performance! Think about the challenges students face during the day. They may have to do work on a subject they don’t like, they may have a disagreement with a friend, and they may receive a poor grade on a test. All these experiences require self-discipline in order to handle them properly. 

When students become overwhelmed with emotion, they can’t focus on their work and their performance suffers. 👎🏾

These skills are especially important in times when your student needs to be independent, like during blended learning. As students move on in school, they will need to be more and more independent and self-motivated in order to succeed. Certainly, the instructors at university expect high levels of self-discipline!


How to teach self-discipline to your child


✓ Start with yourself 👪


Kids learn so much from you! Take this opportunity to assess your own personal level of self-discipline. Do you work through challenges, or do you tend to give up? How do you cope with strong feelings? You need to know your weak spots and help your child see them as well.

Model the behaviour you want to see from your child. You can even work on learning self-discipline together with your child! 

Also, keep in mind that an authoritative parenting style is the best approach for teaching self-regulation skills. 


✓ Make it age-appropriate 🚸


Can your 5-year-old focus on school work for three hours? No.

Should your 15-year-old take a break from school work every 10 minutes? Also no.

Self-discipline is dependent on the age and maturity of the child! Be sure you know what is age-appropriate for you to expect from your child.

At any age, set your child up for success by removing temptations. For example, if they are trying to focus on homework, put their mobile in the other room so it doesn’t distract them.


✓ Create a plan 🗓️


A great way to work on self-discipline is to make a plan and follow through. Work with your child to set goals for what they will done in a certain amount of time. Sometimes it helps to have a checklist so they can tick off each item as they complete it.


✓ Expect mistakes ✏️


Learning self-discipline is a process! Don’t dwell on mistakes, but do take a moment to think about what the mistake can teach you.

Students need to learn metacognition - a fancy way of saying they need to think about their learning. When they make a mistake, this is a great time to practice thinking about what they learned from it.


✓ Assign chores 🧹


When you give responsibility to your child, they feel confident and important. They are more likely to follow through on tasks when they know you are counting on them to get them done. 

So give your child real, useful chores to do at home - ideally ones that they feel they can do well. 


✓ Join a team 🏐


When students join a sport, they are more likely to show self-discipline in all areas of their lives. This is because they practice things like perseverance and working hard in a fun way. It’s not only sports, however. Your child could also try to learn a new instrument or a new language - anything that requires effort will help them strengthen their self-discipline! 


✓ Bring in the experts 🚀


Self-discipline does not develop overnight. While you are teaching your child these skills, there is school work that still must be done! Sometimes, a bit of outside help can be just the push a student needs to buckle down and get to work. Let a GoStudent tutor help! Book a trial lesson today!