Here’s a simple activity you can try to encourage focus and impulse control. We call it New Rule. It’s a good one because you can do it with basically any game you already know. All you do is just flip one of the rules!

For example, try playing a game of “red light, green light.” Play a few rounds the traditional way where red means stop and green means go. After awhile, tell the children that you’re switching it up. Now red meansgo and green means stop.

Another version is “Simon Says.” Play the traditional way where you only do the action when Simon says so. Then after a few rounds, announce that the rules are changing. Now they shouldn’t do anything that Simon says.

This little switch-up will cause the children to focus and pay careful attention to the directions. It also causes them to go against their natural impulse, which helps build that ability to control those knee-jerk impulses in the future.

New Rule is such a simple strategy – what other games could you switch up? If you try this, we’d love to hear how you used it.

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