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10-15 minutes


Primary / Junior / Intermediate




To help students learn to be aware of their actions by monitoring their reactions

Lead a game of “Simon says”.

  • Instructions begin with “Simon says” or not.
  • When students hear “Simon says” they do the action, otherwise, they don’t.
  • If students copy an action that was not preceded by “Simon says” they sit down.
  • Continue for five to ten minutes.


  • If students needed to sit out, what might have happened? Were they paying attention? Were they having too much fun?
  • Brainstorm other times when students might get distracted instead of paying attention.
  • As a class, think of ways/strategies to help them “stop and think” and stay focused.

Repeat game of “Simon says” to let students improve their skill to “stop and think”.

  • Have students monitor when they DID stop and reflect i.e., “catch them doing good”.
  • Students could take turns being “Simon”.
  • Modify the speed at which actions are presented, to change the difficulty of the game.

Self-control and managing impulsivity are skills children develop gradually throughout their childhood and even small improvements in these skills have the potential for large impacts long term for both the student and society as a whole. Diamond & Lee (2011) identify that children, ages three to eleven, with strong self-control, less impulsivity, and better attention tend to have better health, earn more, and commit less crime than those who lack these skills. However, Ruiz (2014) found that young children exposed to trauma may be described by their teachers as disruptive and inattentive which may be mistaken as hyperactive. Educators must strive to be sensitive to the root factors which could be a response to an environmental stress such as systemic racism and structural oppression.

Diamond, A., & Lee, K. (2011). Interventions shown to aid executive function development in children 4 to 12 years old. Science, 333(6045), 959-964.

Ruiz, R. (2014, July 7). How Childhood Trauma Could Be Mistaken for ADHD. The Atlantic. https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/07/how-childhood-trauma-could-be-mistaken-for-adhd/373328/.

Self-regulation is important for our spiritual growth and identity, by examining our actions, and asking ourselves if how we behaved aligns with our Faith, we are becoming the living Christ, following the teachings of Jesus.

(5b) A collaborative contributor who thinks critically about the meaning and purpose of work.

Self-regulation and well-being: to develop one’s own thinking and feelings, and recognition of and respect for differences in the thinking and feelings of others