What is Self-management?

Self-Management refers to an individual's success in controlling his or her emotions and behaviors to complete a task or succeed in a new or challenging situation. Both children and adults need to learn how to control their emotions so that they can get the job done. Often, when talking about managing emotions, we focus on how to calm down when we are angry, upset, or scared. 

These are important skills, but we also need to be able to energize ourselves when we are tired, bored, or just don't feel like working hard. Sometimes we need to calm down and focus; other times we need to "psych ourselves up" to get the energy to tackle our schoolwork, our chores, or our jobs.

Being able to psych ourselves up so that we can get to work is a life-long skill that helps us be successful.  


Activity to build self-management: Psych yourself up

The goal of this activity is simple: to increase your energy level and motivation to do whatever needs to be done.

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elementary students

One key to psyching yourself up is to get up and get moving! Increased activity gets your heart pumping and can give you a boost of energy. For young children, have them spend five minutes pretending to be an active animal— jump like a kangaroo, stomp around like a dinosaur, or prance like a pony. Do this a few times throughout the day to keep them energized!

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middle school students

Music can heighten our mood and help us get fired up to take on a challenge. Have middle schoolers create a playlist of music that they find energizing or inspiring. For the baby boomer writing this strategy, I might include the Theme from Rocky or Eye of the Tiger, but I bet children could find something more meaningful to them! You might also want to create a playlist for calming down and relaxing when responsibilities are complete.

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high school students

Many professional athletes and entertainers have "pre-performance success rituals" that they go through to get ready for the big game or concert. They might listen to the same music, eat the same food, take deep breaths, or do something silly like basketball star LeBron James tossing chalk before each game. A good success ritual for high school students is to picture in their minds their past successes - specific times when they performed well and achieved their goals. Remembering their past successes can give them the energy and the confidence to take on their current challenges.

Additional activities for students and families

Learn more about the rest of the skills measured by the DESSA and access activities that families or educators can use with students K-12 to build their skills.