Kidaptive Blog

Imitation and inhibition: A fun way to practice self control


We’ve already shared how “Simon Says” can be a great game for practicing instruction following. But did you know that with a little twist, it can help with inhibition control, too?

To play, give your child directions as you normally would, but instead of saying “Simon Says,” perform the action as you say it out loud. For example, you might say, “Put your hands on your shoulders,” while touching your own shoulders. Your child should do every action you say. But here’s where the challenge comes in: occasionally, perform a different action from the one you say. For example, if you say, “Put your hands on your shoulders,” put them on your hips instead!

Your child will probably have started imitating your actions rather than focusing on your words, and the switch requires your child to stop themselves from performing an automatic behavior. Inhibition control supports many cognitive functions, including problem solving, and contributes to the development of social-emotional competence (including emotion recognition and management, responsible decision-making, and positive social relationships)—which is positively related to a child’s ability to adjust and thrive in the classroom!

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