Patience is a virtue, but it is a rare virtue that few possess in today’s day and age. This is distressing, as patience is an extremely important life skill one must cultivate in order to overcome hurdles and bumps along the road. No child is born with good manners and an endless supply of patience. In fact, they are usually restless and fidgety. However this doesn’t mean your child is beyond help. They just need proper guidance in order to cultivate patience and exercise it at every opportunity, just like any other skill they’d like to pick up. Positive traits, like patience, kindness, joy, and a lot more, have to be taught and learned. So, why not spend some time teaching your kids to be patient as well? We promise that the payoff is worth the effort. So the next time your little one gets fidgety at a restaurant, use it as an opportunity to work on their patience. You can use some of the tips listed below. Here’s how you can teach your kids to be patient with ease.
1. Start Small
Your kids are not going to master the art of patience in one day, nor should you expect them to. For your little one, it’s best to start small and teach them about delayed gratification gradually. Teaching patience has to begin at an early age. This could mean that you ask your toddler to calm down and wait until you are done preparing their breakfast. Or they can show you something or you can ask them to wait until you’re done putting away their toys before they can go play outside. And as they grow up, you can increase their patience level by making them wait for 1 to 2 minutes. Then all you do is keep increasing the waiting time until their needs are met.
2. Make It A Positive Experience
You have to keep in mind that when kids are young they can’t really fathom the concept of time or a sense of delayed gratification. They are used to you meeting all of their needs instantaneously from the time they were a baby. So they may not understand why you are making them wait all of a sudden. Kids are also prone to relentlessly hounding you for attention. Maybe they want to show you a new trick they learnt or maybe they just want to say hi for the 5th time that afternoon.
You can try to set a particular time aside and tell them you will get to them in 5 minutes but they may just keep bothering you and asking if it’s time yet. So what do you do? No matter how frequently these questions are asked, you need to be patient and kind toward them instead of being annoyed. This helps in creating a positive experience for both of you. Continue to encourage them to wait and then keep your word and give them the attention they crave. This way they will make a positive connection with patience as it eventually gets them what they want.
3. Use A Countdown Timer
This is a great way to teach your kids the benefits of delayed gratification. Sometimes you need to delay your kid’s gratification in order to teach them how to be patient. This means that you hold off on buying them a toy they are obsessed with or a pet they want until it is their birthday, christmas or any other special occasion. This will give them something to look forward to and will motivate them to remain patient. They can also use a visible representation of time going by in order to encourage them to keep their cool. They can mark the day they receive their gift on a calendar and strike out each day as it goes by. By counting down the days they will get excited as more time goes by instead of becoming cranky and restless instead.
4. Keep Your Promises
None of these tips work unless you keep your promises to your child and follow through. Remember your child is learning to wait for something. Be it a visit to the park, an ice cream cone or a new pair of shoes. They are choosing to be patient knowing that they will be rewarded for it. So, make sure you stay true to your word and reward them when the time comes. They deserve it and they’ve earned it. Asking your kids to stay patient is not how you deflect from having to buy them something you can’t afford. If it’s something they can’t have for a while, be honest with them and tell them about the situation. There’s nothing worse than false expectations.
Teaching kids life lessons and life skills is not easy, especially when that lesson is patience. But it is possible. Now that you know some tips to teach your kids to wait for the good things in life, they are going to be just fine. Happy parenting!
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Kezia holds a deep interest in writing about women adapting to motherhood and childcare. She writes on several topics that help women navigate the joys and responsibilities of being a new mom and celebrate every stage of their baby’s development. When she is not writing for MomJunction, she sings in a classical Western choir and reads endlessly.