I want to share a great little article on this:


The key to what she is saying is that self-control is an activity, not a passive state. It takes effort to control yourself and it is best practised through fun activities, particularly for children.

I spent some years in the army, where discipline is high. However, any soldier will tell you that real discipline and self-control are developed in a soldier through their active training, not through being shouted at. A good example is drill. You might think that marching around in circles is out of date in a modern army, but it is generally viewed as a key part of a soldier’s development, even now.

My grandfather was commanding troops during the escape from Dunkirk at the beginning of the Second World War and his comment, years later, was that the only units to arrive on the beach with full discipline and with all their kit were the Guards regiments, who also happen to excel at drill.

Most children don’t want to do much marching, although it does have a certain joy to it once you are good! But the games that Deborah mentions are perfect activities for achieving the same thing.

It goes back to one of the things we see again and again: the old ways often have sense to them.

David Morgan is CEO of Oxford Learning Solutions, publisher of the Easyread System. Easyread is an online phonics course for dyslexic children struggling to read.