Impulsivity definition

Impulsiveness often underlies seemingly “careless” mistakes


A common complaint from teachers and parents is that their children act impulsively, often shouting out answers before thinking the problem through or starting a task before they instructions had been given in full.  This impulsivity may cause them to be disruptive in a classroom environment and take making seemingly “careless” mistakes during tests and exams.

Here are two of the techniques I have often used with a fair amount of success.

  • Count to five:  When you ask your child a question or when he is presented with a homework question say something like: “I’m going to ask you a question, but I want you to count to five in your head before you answer me”.  This forced pause usually allows the brain to think the answer through more thoroughly.
  • Paraphrase instructions.  When giving your child an instruction, be sure to make good eye contact with him and ensure that he is paying attention to what you are saying.  Then ask him to repeat your instruction in his own words, to help him make sure that he really understands what is expected of him before allowing him to continue.