5 Simple Ways to Teach Your Child to Be Patient
“Patience is a virtue.” “Good things come to those who wait.” We’ve heard these sayings time and time again. No one disputes the importance of patience, but for a lot of us, being patient isn’t easy—especially in these days of internet-ready smartphones and same-day delivery for online purchases.
Being asked to be patient is especially difficult for children. Whether it’s waiting in a long line in the grocery store or waiting for their favorite treat, kids often get frustrated and have trouble understanding why patience is necessary. In the long run, however, they will need patience to thrive in school and other important life activities. This is why it’s important to teach your child to be patient as early as possible.8
Of course, teaching patience is about as easy as being patient. There are a few ways, however, you can help your children develop this crucial skill.
Teach Your Child to Be Patient By:
1) Demonstrating patience.
Children learn a great deal through observation. If you model patience, they will have a clearer idea of what they’re expected to do. Respond to stressful and frustrating situations with patience. While you’re waiting in line or stuck in traffic, take the opportunity to model patience for your child. Many times children absorb our own frustrations, so staying calm and patient can help your child do the same. Otherwise, both of you will become upset. Having your example is a valuable resource for your child.
2) Letting your child express their frustration and actively listening to what they have to say.
Depending on their age, a child can try to express why they want something NOW. It is important that you demonstrate patience and calmness while listening to them. If they feel like they are being ignored or dismissed, their frustration levels will increase and they will become even more impatient. If you respond by actively listening to them and taking the time to explain why patience is necessary, children will learn that you’re not just trying to punish or annoy them. It will go a long way to help put their situation into an understandable context.
3) Fostering your child’s creativity.
Developing your child’s imagination is a great way to teach them not to rely on external stimulation for entertainment. In this way, they will expect less instant gratification and will be better prepared to respond to frustrating situations. A simple way to encourage your child’s imagination is by choosing games and activities that require patience. Puzzles, blocks, and other toys and games that require children to slow down and use their imagination are good tools for encouraging critical thinking, creativity, and patience. ECR4Kids offers a wide variety of sets for block play to help fuel your child’s imagination.
4) Stopping to smell the roses.
In order for your child to develop patience, they must understand that life is not a constant race. Show your child that taking time off from your busy schedule is important and necessary, and that life’s slower moments are as important (sometimes even more so) than the fast-paced moments. Make time to take relaxing walks together. Make sure to spend leisure time with your child. There are many ways you can show your child that life isn’t always a rush out the door.
5) Coming up with coping mechanisms.
Try to make waiting easier. Since the saying goes that “a watched pot never boils,” avert their gaze from the metaphorical pot. If your child is having trouble waiting for something, acknowledge that waiting is hard and look for ways to focus on something else, or to pass the time. Sing a song. Change the conversation to something they like. Make up a mantra you can use together in other similar situations.