7 Effective Impulse Control Activities for Teens and Adults

Impulsiveness is the tendency of any individual to act without thinking about the consequences of their actions to satisfy a certain urge which can be psychological or physical in nature. Have you ever heard people making rash decisions in the heat of the moment or becoming aggressive in certain situations? It is in such situations that one acts on the order of his/her impulses. This quality, if not controlled and directed responsibly, can put individuals in tricky situations which can also lead to certain legal actions. 

Being impulsive is a quality and it is present in almost every individual to some extent. A person might be impulsive with food or probably shopping needs. To counter this quality and not be controlled by impulsivity takes a great deal of conscious effort and guidance from teachers, parents, and mental health professionals.

Impulse control: Helping in everyday life 

Even though you might not know, you are surrounded by various impulses directly or indirectly. Right from buying an extra product in the supermarket to giving extra information in a conversation, impulse control is an essential component in everyday life.

Impulsive buying is a common example to understand the importance of impulse control. You might just pick up more products because of their visual appeal if you are Impulsive. Hence, it is vital to develop control so you do not end up spending money and buying unnecessary products that do not fulfill utility. 

Another solid example is the urge to eat more food. At times, you might be attracted to eating another brownie simply because you cannot control your taste buds and the urge. However, it is essential to develop control because overeating can lead to various disorders.

You sure might have overshared in a conversation and regretted it later. That is another example of impulsive speaking. If you are not alert about your words and the type of information you share, you can fall into serious trouble. So, it is evident to develop control even when it comes to speaking.

Impulse control strategies and methods can put an individual back in the driver’s seat and gain control of their life. This is the importance of the quality of impulse control and this needs to be inculcated right from a young age.

This tendency of impulse control can also protect individuals from rash behaviors and can keep them and society safe at large. In everyday life, it makes one more aware, patient, and calm and helps them weigh the pros and cons of various decisions that they are thinking to take. 

Practice impulse control with interactive activities 

Impulse control can be better practiced with the inclusion of engaging activities. These activities are easy to conduct for teens as well as adults. Check out these activities for a comfortable time controlling impulses. 

1. Hey, Hi, Hello

 Hey, Hi, Hello

This is one of the most well-known activities of all time. It is a simple activity that can be played anytime and anywhere. Here the participant is supposed to simply listen carefully to the instructor and obey to win and move ahead in the game. This game can be played with one player or a group of adults.

  • Simply give the children instructions by saying green, yellow, or red. 
  • On the command of Hey, they have to move forward in a straight line.
  •  On the command of Hi, they have to jump on the spot they are standing without moving forward. 
  • On the command of Hello, they have to stop at their place
  • This activity facilitates impulse control as when the kids are moving they suddenly have to stop and control their impulse to move
  • It also makes their listening skills better

This playful activity enhances active listening skills and encourages individuals to be obedient and listen to the instructions in order to win. 

2. Simon Says

Simon Says

‘Simon Says’, is another popular activity that many must have played in their childhood. In this activity, the participants have to obey and do what the instructor says only when they say ‘Simon Says’. It is a simple activity yet a challenging one in itself. 

  • The instructor says ‘Jump in the air’, the one who jumps in the air will be disqualified.
  • But when the instructor says, ‘ Simon Says, Jump in the air’, the players are supposed to jump and obey the instructions
  • This game demands good listening skills and cultivates controlling the impulses and acting after listening and thinking

This activity pushes the participants to think and then act. It also makes their listening and comprehension skills better. Along with this, it facilitates the impulse to make quick decisions without thinking through.

3. Freeze Dance

 Freeze Dance

In this activity, music is played and the participants have to dance, twirl and jump when the instructor asks them to do so. The instructor then suddenly switches the music off and on and the participants have to only stop dancing when the instructor says freeze. 

  • Play any party music
  • One person has to be the instructor and give commands as to when to jump and when to freeze
  • When the players don’t listen to the instructions they are eliminated

This activity is engaging and fun. It enhances listening skills as players have to learn to focus on the instructor as well while enjoying dancing. This pushes them to focus and listen to instructions in order to enjoy and play to the fullest..

4. The Being Silent Game

The game aims at having individuals practice withholding their impulse to talk and increase their moment-by-moment awareness of their overall environment.

  • Begin by instructing participants that the “No Talking Game” is going to start and they have to achieve some goals and points during the game
  • Trying to go as long as possible without uttering a word
  • If the participant has the urge to speak about something, they should write it on a piece of paper, doodle, or simply draw it instead of speaking
  • Each participant shall be given 5 minutes to talk
  • When someone starts talking, everyone else in the room should attentively listen and not speak until their turn to talk arrives

Impulse control happens also when individuals learn to control their urge to speak as it helps them become patient with communication. In other ways, it emphasizes controlling the thought process before speaking it out loud.

5. That’s the Question

That's the Question

Impulse control is an effective technique that also leads to self-reflection in individuals. The activity focuses on putting thoughts into practice thereby allowing individuals to question their thoughts before putting them into spoken communication.

  • To conduct this activity, make different self-reflective questions 
  • Write these questions in a chit and put them in bowls
  • The questions can be framed in the following manner 
    • How would life be if this was not my profession?
    • How will I feel tomorrow if I do not complete this activity?
    • How did I feel in the past when I had completed my task before the expected time?
  • After this, let individuals pick one chit and openly discuss their responses 

As individuals go through such questions, they can control their impulses by keeping track of their behavior. Impulsive practices can be limited when self-reflective questions are presented to create awareness.

6. The Restricted Talk

The Restricted Talk

Interrupting conversations might happen unintentionally when people wish to express their views and opinions. However, the impulse to talk might lead to a negative impression in front of people. This activity is a fun way to instill the manner of good communication in individuals. 

  • Bring a group of individuals to the activity area 
  • Keep an engaging topic of discussion on which everyone has to speak for sometime
  • The topics can be modified as per the surroundings 
  • The topics can be the following
    • Company progress is stunted because of employee behavior
    • Students are supposed to follow etiquette to achieve marks 
  • Every individual has to wait for his or her turn to speak and cannot speak in the middle when someone is speaking
  • To make it interesting, let the allotted time be uneven for every individual.
  • For example, if you give one participant 2 mins to talk give the other only 40 seconds to talk, and then keep interchanging in this manner to facilitate impulse control

This activity aims to push individuals to maintain patience and wait for their turn to share their opinions when in a group of people. It also instills a sense of respect for everyone in the activity as people put their opinions but in a restricted time format.

7. Finding Solutions

Finding Solutions

While adults and teens practice controlling impulses, it is equally important for them to share perspectives. This activity focuses on sharing solutions but in a unique manner

  • To conduct this activity, ask individuals to note down their impulses in a flashcard
  • After this, put all cards in a box or a huge bowl
  • Now, ask individuals to randomly pick a card and read out the impulse one by one
  • After reading, an individual is supposed to give feasible solutions to control that impulse of another individual 
  • The activity ends when all cards are picked and solutions are discussed 

Impulse control is also boosted when individuals learn to share their stories and learn from each other. Such an activity invites openness in communication.


There is no doubt that the importance of impulse control is significant in our daily lives. It is a skill that can help individuals become more efficient and consistent in the professional as well personal sectors of their lives. Learning the skill of impulse control can help people develop healthier relationships. Impulse control facilitates the quality of resilience, compassion, and patience. It is of utmost importance in social situations.

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