Easy Ways to Improve Impulse Control

Recently, we’ve shared a lot of information related to impulse control.  This executive functioning skill is essential for most daily tasks!  When kids struggle with prioritization, planning, time management, persistence, then impulse control can suffer.  Likewise, difficulties with sensory processing, modulation, or direction following can limit a child’s ability to utilize self-control in order to inhibit their impulses.  

These easy ways to improve impulse control are quick tips and tricks that can help kids address impulsivity. 

tips to help kids with impulse control


Easy Ways to Improve Impulse Control

▪ Use those real life situations to assess what worked, what didn’t work, and talk about it! Sometimes looking at a big picture can help kids.

▪ Research tells us that as the day progresses, it is harder for us to maintain and utilize self-control. Make smaller goals later in the day.

▪ Encouraging statements can boost and rally! Use imagery to picture successes in typical situations. Find an encouraging statement that really speaks to the child and ask them to repeat it, sing it, and dance to it! Get silly to make it stick in their minds.

▪ Rest, a healthy diet, enough sleep, physical exercise, and time of day all make a difference in willpower. The interoceptive system is a powerful sensory system when it comes to impulse control.

▪ Physical exercise also leads to changes in the function and s
tructure of the pre-frontal cortex of the brain. Regular exercise such as mindful exercises like yoga and stretching as well as intense cardiovascular exercise helps us become more resilient to stress.

▪ Teach kids how to manage stress. When we experience stress, it means that our body’s energy is used up and we act instinctively. Decisions made under stress are often times based on short-term outcomes.

▪ Self-control and reining in those impulses requires monitoring. This includes keeping track of your thoughts, feelings and actions in any given situation. Help kids monitor their actions with quick self-checks.

▪ Write down the rules. A prerequisite to impulse control includes a knowledge of standards. These personal and assumed guidelines steer us in the “right direction” of following rules. This might include classroom rules, society’s rules, rules of communication, personal standards, and moral guidelines. For the child with sensory processing challenges, communication difficulties, executive functioning issues, these standards can be very difficult to perceive and know! It can be very stressful for these children to know there are rules, but they don’t know exactly what they are.

These strategies are easy to address but can sometimes not carryover well into typical daily tasks.  
That’s why I created The Impulse Control Journal.

The Impulse control journal is a printable journal for kids that helps them to identify goals, assess successes, and address areas of needs.  The Impulse Control Journal is a printable packet of sheets that help kids with impulse control needs.

Read more about The Impulse Control Journal HERE

The Impulse Control Journal has been totally revamped to include 79 pages of tools to address the habits, mindst, routines, and strategies to address impulse control in kids. 

More about the Impulse Control Journal:

  • 30 Drawing Journal Pages to reflect and pinpoint individual strategies 
  • 28 Journal Lists so kids can write quick checklists regarding strengths, qualities, supports, areas of need, and insights 
  • 8 Journaling worksheets to pinpoint coping skills, feelings, emotions, and strategies that work for the individual 
  • Daily and Weekly tracking sheets for keeping track of tasks and goals 
  • Mindset,Vision, and Habit pages for helping kids make an impact 
  • Self-evaluation sheets to self-reflect and identify when inhibition is hard and what choices look like 
  • Daily tracker pages so your child can keep track of their day 
  • Task lists to monitor chores and daily tasks so it gets done everyday  
  • Journal pages to help improve new habits  
  • Charts and guides for monitoring impulse control so your child can improve their self-confidence  
  • Strategy journal pages to help kids use self-reflection and self-regulation so they can succeed at home and in the classroom  
  • Goal sheets for setting goals and working to meet those goals while improving persistence  
  • Tools for improving mindset to help kids create a set of coping strategies that work for their needs  
This is a HUGE digital resource that you can download and print to use over and over again.  
Impulse control journal by The OT Toolbox


The impulse control journal is perfect for kids who: 
  • Grab items from other kids 
  • Lack a sense of personal boundaries 
  • Show poor self-regulation of emotions and sensory input 
  • Have difficulties with delayed gratification 
  • Struggle with carryover of impulsivity strategies into general situations 
  • Interrupt others or act out in the classroom
Impulse control journal ideas for kids