Tot Camp – Week 9 – Self-Control


We’re having so much fun learning the fruit of the spirit! We’ll end our Tot Camp summer study this week with self-control. This one is so timely because it’s something I’ve been working to teach my children; however, I’ve felt so hypocritical when doing it because I know there are many places in my life right now where I am lacking that self-control. (I just ate several bites of chocolate cake during my break from working on this post…) I’m praying we can all learn about self-control this week and that God would develop it in us.

As a reminder, most of my ideas are taken from this blog, which has a great devotional thought for moms at the beginning of the post. I also love the way this blogger opens up her lessons with an intro and closes them with three main points and a prayer, so those pieces always come from this blog. (And then sometimes I added my own ideas in parentheses.)

Also, every day we practice our unit memory verse with this video.

And then we add a memory verse specific to the fruit of the spirit for that week.

“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:7 {ESV}

Day 1: 

Intro from Grace for Moms:

What to share with your child:  This week we are studying the last of the fruit of the spirit. As we wrap up our summer study, we’ll be talking about self-control. Do you know what it means to have self-control? {Give them a chance to answer.} Self-control means being able to control your actions or feelings. Sometimes when we are really upset, frustrated or mad, we react to the situation with angry words or actions. Screaming when your brother or sister hit you. . .crying out when you don’t get what you want. . .throwing a toy when you can’t get it to work. All of these actions are reactions to what is going on around us. But God has given us the ability and the opportunity to choose a different way to react. He has given us a spirit of power, love and self-control.

Discussion from Grace for Moms:


1. 2 Timothy 1:7 tells us that God has given us a spirit of power, love and self-control. This means, when we are walking with God and looking to him for guidance, we have access to these tools that will help us in everyday situations. God’s power and love are in our heart and he will help us use self-control when we need to.

2. Self-control often means choosing a better reaction. Instead of hitting someone back or grabbing a toy they took from us, we can choose to practice self-control and respond peacefully. Self-control might look like taking a deep breath and walking away. Self-control might mean we go find an adult to help us. Self-control can also mean choosing to say and do nothing in a tough situation.


Here’s a link to a great activity to teach the concept of self-control. You basically blow bubbles and have the kids pop them. Then you blow bubbles and tell the kids that they should use self control to keep from popping any of them. (This will be really hard for us because I have Gymboree bubbles, which don’t really pop unless you pop them yourself!)

Then make sure to remind the children that using self-control means we stop, pray, and think before we act. Choose a scenario or two where self-control would be needed and have your children role play. (Ideas are: when another friend grabs a toy without asking, when you little brother or sister hits you, when you see the cookie jar on the table and want to take one but know that you’re not supposed to have one before dinner, etc.)

Page for our book: Self-Control Coloring Sheet (You’ll have to review the story of Adam and Eve for the apple reference to make sense.)

Day 2:

Discussion from Grace for Moms:

Discussion: Besides practicing self-control with others, we can practice it in our own life in areas that require focus. Maybe you are learning a new sport or instrument. You may want to give up after practicing for a short time. In this situation, self-control means you continue to stay at it, even though you want to give up. Or maybe you love, love, love to eat cookies and mom says you can have one. You see the jar on the counter and you are tempted to grab another. Self-control means you decide not to grab another and enjoy the one you were given. There are so many areas in our life that we can exercise self-control. These are just a few examples.

Activity: At our house, we’ve been teaching Fairley how important it is to “work hard, use your brain, and not give up.” Give your child a task (maybe a puzzle or something similar), and work them with, encouraging him/her to have self-control to finish the task. (Or, if you want to work on the opposite and teach more about self-control in restraint, use The Marshmallow Test to teach your child how to have self-control and not indulge.)

Day 3:

Discussion from Grace for Moms:

Discussion: Titus 2:11-12 says, “For the grace of God has appeared that offers hope to all people. It teaches us to say “no” to worldly things and to live self-controlled, good lives.” {adapted from NIV version} The word grace means “help from God that we do not deserve.” This is the most powerful tool he gives us in order to choose to live well. God’s grace helps us to make the right choice in every situation. Grace is the reason we can exercise self-control and have all of the fruit of the spirit in our lives.


Thank God for his grace and affirm your child for any self-control (or other fruit of the spirit) you see God developing in his/her life!

Wrap up from Grace for Moms:


1. God has given us the tools to choose a better reaction to frustrating or upsetting situations.

2. When we choose a better reaction, we are practicing self-control.

3. Self-control is like discipline – the more we practice it, the more it will come naturally. (But I’d like to clarify that it’s not at all “natural.” It’s spiritual because it’s from God, and we can’t have self-control without him.)

Pray this Prayer:

God, thank you for your spirit that gives us the power to make the right choice in every situation. And thank you for your grace that helps us when we struggle. We want to practice self-control in every area of our lives so we can live according to your ways. We love you. Amen.

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