Ever had kids nagging for things at important times? Ever had to wait in line, and your child is wanting something “now”?
All kids, like people, have different temperaments; and some kids are more patient than others. So naturally, kids will start out impulsive. However, when done correctly, you can stretch your child’s patience, so that they can learn to wait for just a tad bit longer. As you and your child practice patience together, you’ll learn what works and what doesn’t work for the two of you.
Here are five ways to have your kids practice patience, while giving you less stressful moments during the process.
Waiting in line is one tedious thing, but so is having to hear your child complain that they’re bored. First, acknowledge your child’s struggle; and then, have them verbalize how they’re feeling. Be sure you make eye contact with your child, be calm, and relax your body, as you talk to them about how they’re feeling. Listening to your child is effective, and can leave you both feeling good about the situation; and they’ll be willing to listen to you, if you address them in a calm manner.
Just saying “in a minute” is starting to become meaningless to young children nowadays, especially if you don’t follow through with that promise. Using timers is effective, when teaching your children to wait for something. You can say something like “Okay, I’ll set the timer for two minutes. I’m almost done with the dishes, but I’ll be right with you once the timer goes off.” And whatever the child is asking for at the time, they’ll either solve the problem on their own, or they’ll learn to wait those two minutes. Timers can also be good visuals for kids, so that they can literally see time ticking away (especially with old fashion sand timers).
“Sometimes, you and your child will have to cope with something; and that’s the starting point for patience,” said Lara Groves, a parent and blogger at Australianhelp.com “When you’re waiting in line somewhere, you can play a game like I Spy, rhyming, counting things, or any such game that’ll help pass the time. You can even bring a binder full of coloring pages, crayons and markers, stickers, or books for them to stay busy in, while you’re waiting in places like the doctor’s office.”
With all-day exposure to technology being a thing in kids’ lives, they’ll expect to get whatever they want on the dot. Want to tone down the instant rewards and gratification to a minimum? Try having your child do projects and activities with you, ones that require time and patience. You and your child can do things like planting, paper-making, or slower-moving games like checkers, Chutes & Ladders, etc. Planting projects are especially good for teaching patience, because you’ll be showing your child how it takes time for a plant to go from seed to sprout every day; and they’ll be more than happy to see the result of a blooming flower (or garden).
It’s hard enough to try and get your child ready for school (or for an appointment), if they put up a fight. But if they see you roll your eyes, sigh, or hear you whine with them, that only makes matters worse. The best thing to do is to stay calm yourself. Make up a game to get the ball roll, or simply laugh so that you don’t sound angry or stressed out with your child. Also, problem-solve aloud, so that you can get them to help solve the problem with you by chiming in. When children see you model patient behavior, that’ll get them to learn to do the same.
Keep in mind that you’re stretching your child’s ability to exhibit patience, not teasing them. If you say “You want this? You can’t have it!” then that comes off as teasing, because you’re offering your child something that they want with no intention of giving it to them. Don’t ever do that to a child.
By learning these five different ways to teach patience, your child will learn a valuable lesson in life, as you learn to teach that valuable lesson.