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Home » Blog » Social Skills » SEL & Character » Children’s Books, Videos and Activities for Teaching Self-Control

Children’s Books, Videos and Activities for Teaching Self-Control

Read Alouds, SEL & Character, Self Control

Written by: Angie Olson

Teaching kids to have good self-control by keeping their hands to themselves and to not speak out of turn can be difficult to do. A lot of the time kids don't realize that blurting out answers or statements is disruptive and touching things or pestering classmates is rude. This collection of books and videos teaches these valuable lessons in self-control by using scenarios that your students can relate to and will better understand how having self-control not only benefits those around them but also themselves.

Books That Teach Self-Control

Books can be a very powerful tool for teaching social emotional skills. The books below do an amazing job of showing kids how having self-control affects everyone in their orbit. If you are interested in follow up question and answer sheets for each of these books you can find them in our Social Emotional Learning Curriculum.

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1. My Mouth is a Volcano! by: Julia Cook

My Mouth Is A Volcano takes an empathetic approach to the habit of interrupting and teaches children a witty technique to help them manage their rambunctious thoughts and words.

my mouth is a volcano book about self control

2. Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse by: Kevin Henkes

Lilly loves everything about school, especially her teacher, Mr. Slinger–until he takes away her musical purse because she can't stop playing with it in class.

lillys purple plastic purse read aloud about self control

3. Clark The Shark by:  Bruce Hale

Clark is a shark with zing, bang, and boom. He zooms into school, crashes through the classroom, and is rowdy at recess. Clark loves life—but when his enthusiasm is too much for his friends, Clark's teacher, Mrs. Inkydink, helps him figure out a way to tone it down. 

clark the shark self control read aloud

4. We Don't Eat Our Classmates by:  Ryan T. Higgins

Fans of macabre, tongue-in-cheek humor (and twist endings!) will enjoy time spent with Penelope.

we dont eat our classmates self control read aloud

Videos That Teach Self-Control

Each of these videos shows ways in which your little learners can learn to practice self-control. You can find follow-up questions to each video within The SEL Curriculum to have deeper discussions on why self-control is important with your students if that interest you.

1. Be The Pond

A short mindfulness video for kids. This video explains in a kid-friendly way that we are separate from our feelings. They come and go – and we can observe them – without getting swept up by them. There's a really clever way of remembering this – our mind is like a pond full of fish. The fish are our feelings. If we remember to Be The Pond, we'll let those feelings just swim by. Be the Pond!

2. 5 Things You Can Control

We may not be able to control the weather, the time, or what anyone things, but we can control five very simple things: Our Attitude, words, actions, manners, and effort.

3. Cookie Monster Practices Self-Control

Cookie Monster joins NPR's Life Kit Parenting Podcast to talk about practicing self-control, especially when you have to wait for something you really want… like a plate of delicious chocolate chip cookies.

4. Managing Impulsivity

Video shows kids how to manage impulsive behavior.

Self-Control Activities for the Classroom

We recommend using the following activities to solidify your little learners understanding of the concept of self-control. All of these resources can be found inside of The Social Emotional Learning full-year curriculum. There are 12 different character traits in total as well as, daily lessons, videos, songs, read alouds with questions, home connections, art projects and more! You can also find video trainings about Breathing Techniques, Calm Down Corners, Self Regulation, Morning Meetings, Developing Student Relationships, and more included in the curriculum!

1. Self-Control Anchor Chart

Use this anchor chart as a whole group activity, independent activity, or both!  There are many options for this chart.  You could display it on the SMART Board and fill it out with your class or even have your students fill out their version along with you!  I have also seen teachers enlarge this anchor chart as a large poster and given their students post it notes to place on the anchor chart to make it more interactive.

self control anchor chart

Download Self-Control SEL Activities HERE

2. Self-Control Scenario Cards

Use these as a tool for a whole group discussion or even writing prompt!  There are 8 scenario cards included.  Each scenario is relatable to your students and prompts them to decide what they would do if they were faced with the same scenario.  We have also included full page scenario card options for you to display on your SMART board.  These are great to use for morning meeting discussions!

self control scenario cards for the classroom

3. Self-Control Strategies Wheel

WHEEL CREATION•Students can select 8 self-control strategies they like to use. They color the pictures for those strategies, cut them out, and glue them on the blank wheel.•Teachers can select 8 self-control strategies to teach. After it is taught, students can color the pictures for the strategy, cut it out, and glue them onto their blank wheel.

USING THE WHEEL•Students can spin the wheel to see what strategy to use at a particular time.•Students can spin the wheel and share with a partner about a time when they used that strategy.•They can also spin the wheel to show the teacher which strategy they used in a calm-down time.•Students can spin the wheel and teach a partner how to use that particular strategy.

self control strategy wheel

Download Self-Control SEL Activities HERE

4. Self-Control Coloring Pages

We have created a Kindness coloring page for your students to use during their spare time, during a read aloud, or even as a reward.  We hope you like it!

self control coloring pages

More Read Alouds for Social Emotional Learning

books and activities to use when teaching self control


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Hey there!  I’m Angie, owner of Lucky Little Learners. Our #1 goal is to support K-2 teachers.  We provide unlimited access to over 20,000 printables that are aligned to your standards.