4th grade self-management tips: Here's how to help your child

Here's how you can help your fourth-grader with self-management.
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By Jamie Farnsworth Finn

Want to help your fourth-grader develop their self-management skills? Here are some basic tips that experts suggest.

Model self-regulation

For example, if you find yourself on hold with customer service and feeling impatient, tell your child, “I really don't like being on hold; it’s very annoying. But I’m going to take a few deep breaths and I’ll calm down.” Showing your child your self-control in the moment can be a powerful lesson. You can even work on those skills with your child when she’s not angry. Talking about coping skills like counting or taking deep breaths while they are calm will give your child practice and a skill your child can turn to when she’s upset. You can also talk about the times you haven’t succeeded with your self-management to show your child that this is a learned skill that requires work.

Help your child with stress management

As your child ages, your child may begin to feel stress as a result of more demanding coursework or the increased social pressures that come with the pre-teen years. You can help your child find ways to reduce stress. For example, if she’s worried about a test, there may be an opportunity to speak with the teacher beforehand or for them to study with a classmate. You may even want to explore physical exercise as a way to manage stress. Many people find simply walking or jogging a great stress release. Teacher Anne Morrison recommends children’s yoga as a fun way for children to relax. The next time your child seems stressed or upset, ask them to join you on a walk, or for a game of basketball and see if getting their blood pumping also helps to distract them from stress.

Ask your child to help around the house

Ask your child to assist you with small tasks around the house, like setting the table or laying out clothes for school the next day. Discussing and following through on simple routines and tasks helps develop their self-management and goal-setting skills. It’s teaching order, organization, and time management on a small level by having your child work through a set of tasks to complete a goal.

Pay attention to your child's behavior

New York City-based teacher Anne Morrison says your child may not always communicate their feelings, but their actions and behaviors may offer clues. For example, if you notice your child gets stressed or acts out on days they have tests, sports practice, or music lessons, it means your child feels more pressure in these situations than you knew. Noting possible causes of their stress or other emotions can help you find ways to help them manage those feelings.

To learn more about self-management for your child, check out our fourth-grade self-management page.

Parent Toolkit resources were developed by NBC News Learn with the help of subject-matter experts, including Anne Morrison, Pre-Kindergarten Teacher, Lycée Français de New York; Jennifer Miller, Author, Confident Parents, Confident Kids.