Activities and Videos to Teach Kids About Self-Control and Impulse Control
Updated: Sep 30
Impulse control is such an important self-management topic social skill to teach children. Many kids need practice with these life skills. Here are some of my favorite videos for teaching self-control to kids. In this list, you'll find interactive activity and freeze dance videos, explainer videos, animated videos, videos with songs about self-control, and read aloud books for self-control. PBS states that "Self-control means being able to resist immediate temptations and avoid acting on impulse in order to achieve more important goals, such as learning or being kind. When kids have better self-control, they do better in school and get along better with others."
Please PREVIEW each of these videos before using them with kids! Given the nature of the internet, some of these links may not work, or may change. Some videos may be more appropriate for different ages.
Interactive and Freeze Dance Videos to Help Kids Practice Self-Control
Freeze dance is a really fun way for kids to practice their pausing and self-control skills. Here are some interactive videos you might want to try out!
Be A Ninja by Kidevolve is a 5 minute guided meditation to help kids be like a super calm ninja.
Self Control by Beech Acres is a short animated video which talks about how everyone has the strength of self control inside of them. It tells you to “slow down like a sloth” and then stop and freeze in place. The more you do this, the more your “self control muscle” grows stronger. This is a cute video because it has the kids do activities like stomping their feet, then freezing, and waving their arms and then slowing and freezing, slowly moving your body, etc.
Freeze Dance by The Kiboomers - My kindergarteners and first graders love this song! It’s a cute animated video with freeze dance.
The Dance Freeze Song by Scratch Garden - This song is about 4 and a half minutes long and it’s super fun and it has you dance by swimming, doing the robot, slow motion, and then freezing in between.
Have Fun and Freeze! by Jack Hartmann Kids Music Chanel - Jack Hartmann is always so fun! This one shows the dance moves on animated characters to follow along with while freezing.
Self Control Videos for Kids
Self-Control for Kids | Character Education by Jessica Diaz is a great video which talks about what it means to have self-control and why it’s important. I like the idea that “you’re able to determine your actions” and people can like and trust you. It also gives you examples of time when you can practice self control like when you fail at something, and other relatable scenarios for kids.
Sesame Street: Ian McKellen Teaches Cookie Monster to Resist Ian McKellen teaches Cookie Monster what the word resist means in this funny, short clip. He defines the word resist as controlling yourself and stopping yourself from something that you really want to do. Ian McKellen wants Cookie Monster to show the audience what resist means by not eating a delicious chocolate chip cookie.
Why Do We Lose Control of Our Emotions? by Kids Want to Know is an explainer video about flipping your lid, and losing control of your emotions by having a big reaction to little problems. It gives examples of triggering things that might happen to make kids lose control of their emotions.
What is Impulsivity? by Youthful Minds This video uses Benny and Belle, two puppets define what impulsivity is, discuss the consequences of being impulsive, and some tips for dealing with impulsivity. I like the definition presented of impulsivity here as doing something sudden without thinking and the person may act out without planning or considering the consequences.” This video does mention wanting to punch someone in the face but discusses why it is dangerous and harmful.
I Can Control Myself | Social-Emotional Learning for Kids | Learning Self-control by Hank the Health Hero is a video about Hank the Health Hero and how he needed to show more self-control. He had been asked to water the garden but instead he watered everything that wasn’t the garden. He breaks down self-control into an easy to understand explanation that talks about the essentials of self-control and provides ways to practice it as well, with an example of playing the game red-light green-light.
5 Self Control Techniques by MrMcKillipOhio is a list of five tips for learning about self-control. He mentions things like knowing the rules and thinking about consequences.
Animated Social Skills Videos on Self Control
Simon The Self Control Seal by Demby's Playful Parables is a 2-d animated video about a seal named Simon who was a role model. Simon always made good choices because he used a catchy song to help him and sings “stop, think, and breathe, and make the right choice.” The song is really catchy!!
Like a Firecracker, Being Impulsive by SEL Kids with Ms. O In this video, Ms. O connects online with her friend Rader. Rader told Ms. O about his day so far. He had an issue where his little brother got in the way and he hit him, and he was grabbing things out of friend’s hands, cutting in line, and always trying to be first. Ms. O helps Rader see if he was being impulsive with his choices. She uses the analogy of a firecracker to discuss impulsivity and teaches Rader 5 things he can do to be more mindful and less impulsive.
The Children Who Were Impulsive by Marie Leiner is a 3 minute animated video about a little girl and boy who got hurt a lot because they had all kinds of accidents since they did things without thinking. It shows unsafe choices (like jumping into a swimming pool without knowing how to swim) and jumping from a very tall tree. Then a superhero comes along and asks “why are they being so impulsive?” The superhero says they need to be careful and start thinking before doing things to avoid getting hurt.
Keep Your Hands to Yourself S3 E20 by WonderGrove Kids is a short educational story about Chris and Dee, who are playing Simon says. Chris oversteps his boundaries and touches Dee’s nose, so Dee explains that he should keep his hands to himself. She tells a story about Maria, who would impulsively touch Dee during recess, in the classroom, or after school. Dee explains that she told Maria to stop, and Maria learned that she needs to keep her hands to herself. This is a lesson about self-control, respecting other's personal space and boundaries, and keeping your hands to yourself.
Self Management Featuring The Character Effect™ Characters by Beech Acres is a video that follows students in a classroom talking over their teacher, but it is the character Morphy who is caught and sent to detention. He feels that it is unfair that he was caught when the others were not, but before he gets too worked up, he went to the relaxation station, and used his self-control. This is a relatable example for children in the classroom.
Self Control Songs for Kids
Using music is a great way to work on social emotional learning skills with kids! Here are some songs about impulse control.
Heath and the Checker Shoe Band perform the song Self Control by Hero25 - The lyrics in this song keep repeating so it would be a good one to do with freeze dance.
Self Control song by Mrs. Dawn Miller and this one shows the lyrics. It’s from the program Building Blocks of Character by Classroom Classics.
Breathe by Music for Kiddos is written and performed by music therapist Stephanie Leavell. It’s a beautiful calming song with some simple movement directions too. You can even download the chords + lyrics for free at Music for Kiddos is my new favorite youtube channel!
Self Control song by David Kisor and Growing Sound This is great because it has lyrics like “I go fast fast fast.. And then I stop, put it on hold, I’ve got self control…”
Me Want It (But Me Wait) by Sesame Street - In this hilarious video, Cookie Monster does a spoof on Icona Pop's hit song "I Love It.” He tries to explain self-control concepts while coming up with his own strategies on waiting to eat a cookie. A fun song and video!
Read Aloud Books about Self-Control for Children
If you're looking for books on self control for kids, be sure to check out this blog post! If you want to learn more ways to help kids with impulse control and executive functioning, check out this blog post.
Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein is read aloud by Miss Jill of Toadstools and Fairy Dust. If you’re looking for more books about impulsivity and self-control, check out this blog post!
I Can't Believe You SAID That! is read by the author Julia Cook who also wrote the Herman Jiggle, Say Hello! among dozens of other books. This story is about RJ, a boy who often says what is on his mind, and has trouble blurting out and saying whatever he is thinking, even if it offends people. He learns about using his thinking bubble, his talking bubble, and his social filter. If you’re looking for more books about impulsivity and self-control, check out this blog post!
Howard B. WiggleBottom Learns to Listen by The Wiggle Tales Howard the bunny struggles listening and faces some consequences. He learns to listen better and it improves his life.
Send a Positive Note Home!
Do you want to involve parents more? A great way to involve them is to keep a pile of positive notes home, ready to go! Each of my Social Skills Treasury activity kits comes with a letter home to parents, and these positive notes home to increase positive reinforcement and parental engagement! I love sending notes like this home and as a Mom I love receiving them too! To grab this freebie, just scroll up to the top of this page and subscribe to my SEL Free Resource Library and you can download these today (along with a bunch of other goodies!)
And remember, if you're looking for books on self control for kids, be sure to check out this blog post! If you want to learn more ways to help kids with impulse control and executive functioning, check out this blog post.
Fun Activities and Games to Work on Impulse Control with Kids
Now that you've got your picture books, and videos about self-control, are you looking for some more fun games and activities to work on self-control with children? I have this Self-Control Bundle. You can buy these sets individually, in the self-control bundle, or with other social skills resources at a discount in my Growing Social Skills Treasury Bundle!
All of the Social Skills Treasury sets include:
✔ S.M.A.R.T. IEP and Treatment Plan Objectives for Easy Goal Writing!
✔ Data Collection Sheet
✔ Editable Letter to Families About the Topic
✔ "I Can" Learning Targets Poster
✔ Suggested Companion Resources
✔ Ideas to Extend and Practice the Concept
✔ Resources in Both Color and Black and White
✔ Game Board with Spinner, Pawns, and Dice
✔ 32 Scenario Cards with a Digital and Printable Version
✔ Good Self-Control or Poor Self-Control Sorting Mats
✔ Social Filter: Keep the Thought in Their Head or Say the Thought Out Loud Sorting Mats
✔ 32 Thought Cards with a Digital and Printable Version
✔ Playing a Game Visual Poster
✔ Dice with Reflection Questions
✔ 8 Page Social Story Booklet in Digital and Printable Formats
✔ 24 Game Cards for Discussion and Reflection
✔ Board Game with Spinners, Pawns, and Dice (Digital and Print)
✔ 27 Coloring Pages and Worksheets
✔ Playing a Game Visual Poster
✔ Story with Reflection Questions
✔ Writing Response
✔ Graphic Organizers
✔ Cut and Paste Worksheet
✔ Quotes for Discussion Prompts
✔ 6 Page Self-Control Flipbook
✔ Was I Showing Self-Control Today? Self-Reflection Worksheet
This resource is part of the Social Skills Treasury which is a comprehensive and engaging series of social skills activities and resources designed to help you address lagging skills with kids in a fun way!