January Character Foundations: Self-Control

Welcome to 2022, and the January focus of St. Johns' innovate Character Foundation program, self-control. Self-control is a tough trait to learn, particularly for young children, so St. Johns' faculty and staff will be focusing on it all month with students from age 3 through Grade 12. You can help reinforce these lessons at home by helping your child Say It, Know It, See It, and Do It:


Self-control means choosing to do what you should even when you don’t want to.


Parents, ask your kid:

  • Have you ever wanted to keep playing video games at night but your mom or dad said it was time to get a bath and get ready for bed? How did you act? What did you say?
  • Think of someone you know that lacks self-control. Think of someone that you know that has great self-control. What are the main differences in their attitudes and behaviors?

Kids, ask a grown up:

  • Think of a time when you lacked self-control. What happened?
  • How does it feel to choose to do what you should even when you don’t want to?
  • What do you have trouble resisting? What do you do to avoid being tempted?

Self-control can be a difficult lesson to learn as a young person. Have you ever seen a toddler throw a temper tantrum? It’s because they don’t yet possess the skills to practice self-control. This video is a great depiction of Donald Duck and his struggle with self-control. Watch with a grown up and discuss the strategies the radio host is suggesting to practice self-control. Discuss in detail if Donald Duck is using these strategies.

Make a list of things in your life that you want to do but are unhealthy for you. How can you avoid making these unhealthy choices? For example, you really like to eat greasy foods or chocolate but they are unhealthy food options. What are some things that will help you choose to do the right thing, even when you don’t want to? Are there certain places that you should avoid or are there specific times that you could avoid these places? Come up with some practical strategies to help you sharpen your self-control.

Read About It

Reinforce lessons about self-control at home by reading these books:

Lower School:

  • Time Out for Sophie by Rosemary Wells (Grades Pre-K3-K)
  • Alphonse, That is Not Ok to Do! by Daisy Hurst (Grades Pre-K3-K)
  • Can I Give You a Squish? by Emily Neilson (Grades Pre-K3-K)
  • Sometimes I’m a Bombaloo by Rachel Vail (Grades Pre-K3-1)
  • Finn Throws a Fit by David Elliot (Grades Pre-K3-1)
  • Ravi’s Roar by Tom Percival (Grades Pre-K3-2)
  • Ding Dong! Gorilla! by Michelle Robinson (Grades Pre-K3-3)
  • When Sophie Gets Angry by Molly Bang (Grades Pre-K3-2)
  • Llama Destroys the World by Jonathan Stutzman (Grades K-2)
  • Don’t Squeal Unless It’s a Big Deal: A Tale of Tattletales by Jeanie Franz Ransom (Grades K-2)
  • You Get What You Get by Julie Gassman (Grades K-3)
  • My Mouth is a Volcano by Julia Cook (Grades K-3)
  • Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein (Grades K-5)
  • The Sorry Life of Timothy Shmoe by Stephanie Simpson McLellan (Grades K-5)
  • Quiet Please, Owen McPhee! by Patrice Barton (Grades K-5)
  • The Monster Who Ate My Peas by Danny Schnitzlein (Grades 1-5)
  • Soda Pop Head by Julia Cook (Grades 2-5)


Middle & Upper Schools:

  • Butter by Erin Jade Lange (Grades 9+)
  • Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone by Kat Rosenfield (Grades 10+)
  • Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare (Grades 9+)
  • I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga (Grades 9+)
  • Rash by Pete Hautman (Grades 7+)
  • Night Road by AM Jenkins (Grades 9+)
  • Joey Pigza series by Jack Gantos (Grades 6+)
  • Twilight by Stephenie Meyer (Grades 9+)
  • Gifts by Ursula K Le Guin (Grades 7+)