How Do You Teach Self-Discipline to Students?

There are many ways to teach self-discipline to students. But where do you start teaching self discipline and how do you make sure it’s easy to understand and implement? Today I’m sharing my favorite tips for leading by example and using God’s Word to show your kids how self-control is lived out in day-to-day life. 

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What does the Bible say about self-control?

How to teach self-discipline to your children

God’s Word is the perfect starting point for understanding how to teach self-discipline to students and also for applying it in our own lives as adults. Building godly character takes constant work and intention, which is why it’s important to set a standard that aligns with scripture.

The most common Bible verse known about self-control can be found in Galatians 5:22-23:

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things, there is no law.”

But we can also find it in the following passages:

These, and many others, can be used as foundational principles that we can use to teach self-discipline to our children. Let’s look at ways to build self-discipline as well as examples of what this can look like.

How Do You Teach Self-Discipline to Students?

I have a few ideas for teaching self-discipline and self-control in practical ways. These tips can easily be implemented with students of any age. They will help lay the building blocks for helping students walk this character trait out in a practical, real-life way.

1. Start as early as possible.

With character traits like this, it’s never too early to start teaching children the basics. You may be surprised at how early children can begin grasping the concept of self-control and self-discipline, enabling them to make the right choices.

2. Implement activities that teach self-discipline.

This can look many different ways, but some of the easiest activities to start with are those that require following directions and working with others. These real-life types of situations often bring about many opportunities to teach self-discipline in a natural and organic kind of way.

Start with simple lists that your children can check off to reach a goal. A chore list is a great way to make sure your kids are helping out. It also teaches them that sometimes we have to do things, even when they aren’t “fun” things to do. This is an easy and productive way to introduce self-discipline to your kids. 

HINT: Access my FREE 15-page chore printable here to get started!

3. Be intentional about teaching correct responses.

It’s easy to divert to the kind of correction that doesn’t quite teach children how to respond to future instances in which they need to show self-control. Instead of saying, “No” or “Don’t do that,” consider taking a few extra minutes to explain why it shouldn’t be done and give some practical ideas for handling the situation differently in the future.

4. Develop rules and expectations.

We have the Word of God as the perfect starting point. A Biblical foundation helps us lay out rules and expectations that aren’t too hard for students to comprehend and put into action. Be sure to not place unrealistic expectations of self-control on your student and pay attention to their level of development.

5. Offer rewards for positive self-control and self-discipline.

Although rewards shouldn’t be the primary focus, they can certainly be used to encourage your student to continue doing a particular behavior. In this case, we’re looking for students to develop proper self-discipline tactics and divert to those more often than not. The reward can be something as small as a sticker chart or as big as earning a special toy. Just something that serves as a visual reminder of the progress that they are making and the good decisions they are making. 

Final Thoughts on How to Teach Self-Discipline to Students

Teaching self-discipline is easiest when you as the parent are also living it out. Adding bible studies, individual Scriptures, and clear communication of what is expected are the building blocks to helping students learn and implement effectively. Use the tips above to help your child become a master at having self-control in their life.

What are some ways you teach discipline to students? Let me know in the comments below!

Looking for help teaching godly character traits to your kids like obedience, self-discipline, and attentiveness an more? Discover your key to character-building success in our popular character curriculum!

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