Developing good character is a good thing for your children. But how can you teach them something like patience – the ability to wait for as long as necessary to complete a task? Although no one is born with good character, the good news is that patience can still be taught to children, even at their early ages.
With that said, here are 5 practical ways to help your child grow in their ability to practice patience:
- Take Baby Steps
Just like with anything else that is taught, you’ll have to start small when teaching your child about patience. You can start asking for small doses of patience from your child at a very early age (i.e. at toddler age).
Small doses can mean asking them to calm down and wait quietly for 1 to 2 minutes before you’ll put more milk in the sippy cup. Or, small doses may come from asking them to hush for a moment before you hand them their favorite toy after brushing or wiping it down first.
Once your child grows older, you can push the wait time to be longer than 2 minutes, so that they can get used to waiting longer.
- Be Positive
Young children aren’t able to conceptualize the need for or benefits of patience. And even though you set a timeframe for something (when they get a snack, when you get to your destination, etc.), don’t be surprised if they keep asking you if it’s time yet.
In those cases, it’s important for you to stay patient, kind, and positive when they ask, even if it’s for the umptieth time. Just keep in mind that these constant questions aren’t stemmed from selfishness or a mean spirit, but that they simply don’t have the ability to conceptualize time yet.
And, whatever you do: Don’t snap at your child, or even threaten to punish them for asking you too many times if it’s time yet – that will only show them that waiting can be a negative experience. Therefore, stay calm, and be positive, as you deal with the constant questions, and show them that it’s important to wait on things – this reinforces the idea that waiting can be a positive experience.
- Let Them Experience
Want your child to have less screen time while they wait for something? You can!
With children developing negative habits of screen-watching and video games in today’s world, they might be missing out on other things while they wait.
Therefore, find different ways to help pass the time by introducing them to games and activities that allow them to be more productive and engaging in their wait time.
- Teach Them To Take Turns
When children are having fun, there will come a time where they would have to share a toy, a doll, etc. So, what better way to teach them patience now by showing them that they have to wait turns when sharing something. It’s true that this might take practice, but it’s definitely worth it when two or more children are taking turns playing with a toy, riding a bike, etc.
Now, if your child is struggling to wait his turn on something, keep showing him the thing that he wants, and have him wait for it. This allows your child to cope with the wait and learn from it.
- Have Countdowns Or Visuals
Want to show children that time is passing? Why not introduce countdowns as you near your destination, when someone is playing with a toy, etc. This lets you show children when time is up, and it has them excited for who’s next to do something. This is especially ideal for road trips, when kids can grow antsy, and ask: “Are we there yet?”
You can even use visuals – flash cards, puppets, etc. – to indicate to them when they’ll be at their destination, or when it’s their turn to do something.
As you can see, patience not only has your child make situations run smooth without belting out in a temper tantrum, but it also teaches them one of the life lessons that they must abide by as they grow up. With patience, children are able to see that it’s important to wait for things, even if they don’t like the wait.
About the author:
Kristin Herman is a writer and editor at Academized. As a tech enthusiast, she blogs and tweets about the latest trends in technology and social media. And, as a project manager, she has overseen many writing projects across the country.