Using Music to Help Children Develop and Strengthen Impulse Control

Have you ever found yourself in the middle of a parking lot and your child keeps wandering away and you shout “STOP!” for fear they’ll get hit by another car? And their response was more like you said “RUN!” and they just bolt away from you? This might seem like a dangerous situation to you, but to your child it’s a fun game!

Children at a young age learn to play chase with family. They often run around the coffee table shouting, “I’m going to get you” or “I’m coming after you.” To a young toddler this is a fun interactive bonding game and they haven’t yet learned to differentiate dashing at home vs. dashing in public!

To change this, try making “STOP” a fun and playful game!

I would often see a child running down the hallway after a session.  The parent screams “STOP” and what do you expect? Yes! The child continues running around laughing! Then you feel like you have no control and are tempted to put them on a short leash right?  Well, you don’t need to. Here is one of the songs that I use to make the “STOP” game easy and fun, and you’ll find it works anywhere. 

I use the song “This is the way” and at the end we all stop…and freeze.  This is very important for young toddlers, and particularly children with special needs, because they often have difficulty with controlling their impulses. Working on these impulses will help your child gain self control and you will find improvements at home, at school, and in public places. STOP now means STOP and its FUN to STOP!

It may take several tries to learn the rules and enjoy playing the STOP game.  Remember to stay positive and reward your child when they do STOP and FREEZE!

Adding music and play makes learning fun for everyone!

The video on the right shows two ways in which I used music to develop and enhance impulse control. 

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Image courtesy of Chris Roll/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Chris Roll/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Here are some musical adaptations on how you can help develop and strengthen impulse control in children.