Patience is one of the most sought-after virtues in any human being. It isn't only an essential quality for adults; kids should be patient too. But teaching patience to kids can be a hard nut to crack; kids struggle to grasp the concept of patience as it's alien to them.
Patient adults are the kids who learn to be patient children early into their lives. That's why every parent needs to nurture patience in their kids.
And it's more significant to impart these teachings to your kids daily through actionable and practical steps. But the question remains, how should parents teach patience to kids?
Many new parents struggle to find the right tips and methods to help their kids, but there is good news for you, this article has 7 actionable steps to teach kids patience. These are simple and effective tips anyone can follow to learn patience, teach it, and help others be good at it. These steps will help you develop other positive virtues like gentleness, self-control, and love in your kids.
Are you ready to help develop your child's overall character? Start reading these practical tips, and by the end of this article, you'll know just how to easily foster and nurture the seed of patience in your child every single day. First, let's understand why patience is vital for kids?
Why should kids learn patience?
Kids do not have enough life experience to naturally know about great traits like patience. For example, if you ask them to stand in long lines or wait for their snacks, they simply can't. They do not understand the concept of waiting for things they need right now.
It is a definite challenge to get children to do anything without throwing a tantrum or luring them with a reward. But this isn't how parents should always have to make kids do tasks.
"The world already offers instant gratification, so if you keep teaching kids about patience by instantly handing them rewards, they'll not learn. They would want to have a pleasant outcome for every situation they face and maybe expect a reward in the end, and this is not the case in real-life circumstances."
Even if children are not inclined towards patience, it is essential to teach kids patience. Patience is important for kids to grow into happier and healthier kids and adults to have some time for themselves.
Moreover, kids just need to be patient to do their day-to-day activities like waiting to eat, being good sportsmen, connecting with people, playing, waiting for their bus, and a whole lot of things. That's why kids need to learn patience. Now that you know this, here are the 7 practical steps you need to teach your kids patience.
1. The 2 golden rules
Even learning about patience takes a considerable amount of time. You need to be ready with some basic knowledge before you head out to teach kids about patience. There's good news; these two golden rules are all you need to start your journey now!
Help them understand purposeful delays
Children are innocent, and they don't know much about mindfulness; if they want something, they just ask for it. They simply do not understand why do they need to wait for things sometimes.
It is a parent's responsibility to introduce children to the concept of patience. Instead of giving them vague reasons conveying "It is what it is," you need to talk to them in their language.
Before you even begin to teach your kids patience, make sure they understand what they are going for. To help you convey the basics, keep in mind you need to convey the reason, the exact waiting time, and the reward for the wait. Communicate and fulfill these pointers, and your kids will understand the point better.
Give them real-life experience
Some things are easier said than done, just like patience. You can have the best advice in the world, but it will fall flat until you implement it in the real world. But you don't need to worry.
This article has you covered with thoughtful advice and actionable steps to actually help your child implement patience in real life. Although you'll find helpful steps throughout the article, here are some extra tips you'll need to teach your kids patience.
- Teach your kids to play with other kids, even when they get in a debate, you can teach them tricks to stay calm, like counting from one to ten or walking away from the situation till they get calm.
- While you are playing with your kids or they are playing with other kids, make your kids take turns. It'll teach your kids to wait for their turn and stay calm till their turn arrives. If your kids seem to be taking a little more time, let them play often; the more they wait, the more they'll realize it is necessary to wait.
2. Make patience a positive experience
Your little one has much less life experience than you. Often they do not remember what they have learned but how it made them feel. So if they understand the importance of patience through a stressful or negative experience in general, teaching patience to children will be more than problematic.
While you are teaching patience to kids, you need to stay patient and kind as well. If you get angry or snap at them, your kid will learn anger from you, and they won't be interested to learn at all. For example, while teaching your child about delayed gratification and waiting for good things, they'll likely keep asking you if it's time yet.
And it's obvious because they do not understand waiting for something? They'd swarm you with questions like, why should I wait? And why can't I have it now? You need to answer these questions calmly and carefully.
If you try to apply force and anger at your child, it will reinforce that waiting or learning is probably a negative experience. It can lead to my parents getting angry at me, so I'd not participate in it again.
You absolutely do not want your child to relate this narrative with patience or you as a parent. The solution? Here are 3 ways you can make waiting an enjoyable and productive period for you and your kids.
- Set a fixed waiting time by keeping a timer or giving your child a deadline ("when you are done with your homework"). This will make waiting tangible. Over a more extended period, you can start with a shorter waiting time and gradually increase it as your child learns.
- Instead of letting your child's mind wander off to the prize, distract them with another activity. Suggest them to find ways to pass the time till the waiting period is over. It can be playing with their favorite toys, completing their homework, or doing some fun coloring pages for kids.
- When the waiting period is over, follow through with your promise. When you give the child what you promised, they'll feel the wait, however long, was worth it and consider it a positive experience.
3. Make waiting worth
Have you realized how fast time flies when you are watching your favorite movie or scrolling through social media? Screens and kids have a similar relationship. When you are teaching your children patience, you wouldn't want to initiate screen addiction in kids.
During this time, you'd like your child to feel the wait and actually realize they waited for a while before getting the reward. This way, your kid will feel the waiting period was substantial, and they can wait for what they want.
Mindless distractions, like screens, do not allow your child to experience the wait. With these distractions, the delay doesn't feel real, and the child isn't mentally present. You can do a few things to make the waiting period worthwhile and mentally stimulating for your children.
- Help your child to develop an interest in activities for kids. Make art and crafts, do sensory activities, and do seasonal activities with your kids.
- Encourage your child to develop a rewarding hobby. Children are always interested in doing new things, and you can use their interest to teach new hobbies like baking, flowering, or just walking.
- Reading is one of the most accessible activities that stimulate your child's brain. It inspires creativity, increases vocabulary, and improves communication.
- You can spend the time by striking a conversation with your kids. Ask them how their day is going, how is everything at school, and what would they like to do? Show them you want the best for them, and you have their back.
These activities will encourage your child to mindfully spend their time and be present while waiting. Yes, it is perfectly fine for your child to watch screens and enjoy their favorite show at any other time. But, while you are making children patient, you need to take special care of how they spend their time.
4. Reward your child
In some cases, when kids are throwing a tantrum, many parents make some promises to calm them down. The possibility is that they'll forget about it by the time they feel relaxed, and it works many times. But, making fake promises to your child can hurt them and their learning experiences dealing with rewards.
One thing that you might not even notice is that your child still waits for the promise to be fulfilled. Maybe you promised to give them candy within half an hour, but you forget about it, and you give them candy after 2 hours.
By this time, your kid will believe that half an hour is a long time, and they may not want to wait this long anymore. Or if you do not give them the candy, your kids will feel you do not keep your promises and lose trust in you.
So to even begin teaching your child patience, you need to gain your child's trust. You need to ensure that the rewards you promise your kids are genuine and the wait will be worth it. To help you gain your child's trust and encouraged them to practice patience, here is what you can do:
- Be careful while making promises to your children. Even if your child is throwing a tantrum or you can't seem to control them, refrain from making any promises you can't keep.While making promises, give your child time for them. It doesn't need to be time-bound. You can tell your child you'd reward them after they finish some work or after dinner. But make sure you address it after the activity.
- If your promises are time-bound, make sure you reward them on time. If you can't, talk to your kid and let them understand the situation. This way, your kids learn patience and understand sometimes they may have to wait longer.
5. Answer in detail
Even after you explain to your kids that they'd have to wait, they will still be asking questions. After all, children are curious by nature.
You'd want to tackle their frequent questioning by saying "Later," "Wait," or "Soon," but kids don't know what later or soon may mean. It could be 5 minutes or 50 minutes. And answering their questions in this way will only make them ask again and again until you actually reward them.
One of the biggest problems with teaching children patience is that they do not have a proper understanding of time. If your child is older, they will likely understand easily because they know how much time it will take. In the case of younger children, it is challenging as they do not know much about time, that's why they depend on you.
You must be thinking about how else can you answer your little ones' questions? Should you teach them how to interpret time? Will they have the patience for that? Don't worry, try these ways to be detailed to answer your child's questions:
- Instead of telling your kids it would take 10 minutes, tell your kids it will take 3 songs to get there. Or you can start playing when this movie is done. It will help kids make time tangible for them until they learn how to tell time.
- When it comes to waiting for days, answer your kids by saying it is 3 sleeps away. Or when you see the moon 3 times.
- You can also take out your kid's coloring pages and tell them one page colored is the waiting period for their reward or the result.
- Have a visual representation of time for your kids. You can have a digital or analog timer for your kids, use your phone's timer, or download an app on your phone.
These methods will help your kid relate to time, and they'll be much more patient while waiting.
6. Take small steps
When you learn new things, no one can do all of it perfectly, let alone children. It's only through small steps you can learn about something thoroughly and effectively.
To make your child actually cultivate patience, you might need to take small steps at a time. Set your expectations realistically and advise your kids to take things slow as well. Anything you expect them to do, start small and move ahead from there.
For example, if you teach your kids patience and ask them to wait, don't make them wait for too long. It's unfair to expect them to wait 15 minutes when they don't even understand the concept of patience. Start small and help them stay for at least 2 minutes; when they can wait for this duration, you can increase their waiting time.
You can take these small leaps practically by following these steps:
- Set a timer for the set duration of waiting time, let's say 2 minutes.
- After the timer goes off, appreciate your child. Saying "You did a good job!" or "Good waiting!" would help.
- After appreciation, immediately follow through with your promise.
- Gradually increase the waiting period from 2 minutes to 4 minutes or more. You'll know when to increase the time as your child gets comfortable.
- To encourage your child after long waiting periods, you can increase their reward too.
Tip: Don't offer your child double their reward or more than what you proposed regularly. If you do so, they'll get used to expecting more than what they have been told and often get disappointed when that's not the case. It'll discourage them from learning about patience, so be mindful.
7. Teach self-control
If you consider all this practice, you'll see your child is learning patience under a calm and supervised environment, just like any experiment. Not just that, you must have also observed that during this practice, your child learns to develop their trust in you.
They know if you've promised a reward, they'll get one, and they'll stay calm. But what happens when children have to practice patience outside this controlled environment?
When your child has learned about waiting and rewards, it's time to teach children patience in adverse conditions. The most significant factor that decides if your child will act patient is their self-control, and their emotions dictate that.
The feeling of anger, anxiousness, and unrest may cause your little one to lose control, but this can be controlled gradually.
- First, you have to understand the root of their impatience. Maybe you are giving your children their reward before the designated time. This will give your child a false sense of time, and they'll believe the waiting time isn't an exact measure. Maybe you are rewarding them later, or just forgetting about it, it'll develop doubt in your child's mind regarding your credibility. Or perhaps you are rewarding them more or less than the reward; it can cause your child to lose patience as well. Once you pinpoint the cause of your child's impatience, move ahead to the next step.
- To teach your child patience in all situations, you can start by helping them control their time. For example, suppose children do an activity while waiting. In that case, they will find something to pass the time and develop an interest in the activity, so they won't constantly be thinking about their waiting time being over. Coloring pages, joining the dots, rhymes, and other kids' activities are easy and you can carry them everywhere.
- Another critical thing to keep in mind is to help your child get through their tantrums. They are kids, of course, they'll throw a tantrum or will not be the easiest to handle at times, but this is no excuse for not teaching them patience. Instead of giving in to your kid's tantrums, give them something else to help them wait. Color with your child or do arts and crafts while you help them understand why you're doing it.
These 7 tips are simple tips experienced parents swear by. Now that you have a curated article with everything you need to teach your kids patience, go through it till you are ready to impart the wisdom to your little one.
Save this article and let it guide you while you teach your kids all the essential lessons. And while you have this article by your side, share this with your loved ones to help them teach their kids patience.
Need more parenting tips? Here are articles to help you teach kids kindness, foster kindness in kids, and more. Happy parenting to you!
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