Self-Discipline Lesson for Kids: Definition & Examples

Instructor: Suzanne Rose

Suzanne has taught all levels PK-graduate school and has a PhD in Instructional Systems Design. She currently teachers literacy courses to preservice and inservice teachers.

Have you ever been in a jam because you waited until the last minute to do a big project for school? Self-discipline would have helped you out! In this lesson, you'll learn what self-discipline is and how it can help you in your life.

Self-Discipline Is a Strength

Have you ever read the book, Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday by Judith Viorst? In the story, a boy named Alexander gets a dollar from his grandparents. Unfortunately, in just a few days, it's gone, and he can't figure out where it went! He didn't have any self-discipline. Self-discipline is a strength that you have inside that lets you control your feelings. Self-discipline helps you do what you know is the right thing to do, even if you don't want to do it.

Examples of Self-Discipline

Alexander didn't have any self-discipline; he couldn't keep himself from spending his money. When you have self-discipline, one thing you learn to do is wait patiently. Instead of spending all your money now, and then having none, you can wait. If Alexander had had self-discipline, he'd have been able to save his whole dollar to spend on something really special, instead of spending it a few cents at a time on little things that he really didn't need.

Let's say you have a whole tin of cookies. If you have no self-discipline, you might eat all of them in just a few minutes! With self-discipline, you might have two or three cookies today, then two or three tomorrow, and so on, so that your cookies last a much longer time. You can spread out your enjoyment of the cookies instead of eating them all at once, and you're much less likely to get sick from eating too many all at once, too!

Saving cookies to eat later is an example of self-discipline.

Self-discipline can also help when you have a large project to do. You may not want to do it, but if you have self-discipline, you can work at it a little bit every day until it's all finished instead of waiting until the last minute. In the same way, if you have a chore that you don't want to do, using self-discipline to get it done first can get it out of the way so you don't need to worry about it anymore. Instead of playing video games or hanging out with your friends, and then doing the chore, meeting your responsibilities first shows self-discipline. You're able to do what you need to do first, then enjoy yourself later on.

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