I had started a how-to series, of sorts, about raising kids. But I was never sure as to what I should or could include. Different parenting styles work for different parents, after all. While we may incorporate some aspects of positive or compassionate parenting, that might not work for someone else. Still, I wanted to continue with this series, and talk about how to teach patience to kids. Why? Because it’s important when it comes to raising kids with character. And goes along well with my existing advice and tips for modern day parents.
Kids are not the most understanding of beings. They don’t have the capacity in most cases. One virtue that will do them well in life is patience, and here is how parents can learn to instill it into their little bundles of joy.
Why It’s Important to Teach Patience
Children are not used to waiting.
They get it honestly from birth. Because they can’t speak, they cry. When they cry, parents come running. They get picked up and cuddled. They get their diapers changed. They are fed a bottle. They hear dulcet tones from mom’s or dad’s lips in an effort to lull them back to dreamland.
And that’s not to say that you shouldn’t meet your child’s needs. Trust your instincts when it comes to your kids.
What is to prevent them from expecting to have their needs met all the time in this way?
Tired parents go through a routine of feeding, changing and tending to their tiny toddlers so that they can get on with what they want to do. Unfortunately, it can set up a precedent. Kids expect what they want right when they want it. If they don’t get it, bad behavior ensues.
Everything in life won’t result in instant satisfaction.
There are times that you have to wait. There are lessons in waiting that are valuable for kids to learn before they become adults. Patience is the art of waiting and handling the times in between.
3 Ways to Teach Patience to Kids
Patience is a hard virtue to cultivate even as an adult. For kids, it can be near impossible without some parental intervention. Here are some ways to help kids understand and benefit from it.
* Self-soothing – This can be learned in infancy. As a child gets older, there are times when they cry but are not hungry, wet or sick.
Parents will be up numerous times per night at every little whine seeing if they are okay. While most parents are not comfortable letting their kids cry for hours, a bit of whimpering might result from suddenly waking up. There is nothing wrong with letting them learn to lull themselves back to sleep.
Peek your head in to make sure they are not wrapped up in the blankets but don’t pick them up right away.
The same can be done for older kids. Turn on the night light to illuminate their way to the bathroom but resist the urge to run to their aid for everything.
* Change the focus – Two siblings want the same toy but one was already playing with it. Instead of immediately shifting the toy to a new owner to squash the argument, allow the second child to wait their turn.
While they wait, switch their attention to other activities to avoid brooding.
* Model it for them – You probably have difficulty waiting as well. Don’t hide that from your kids. Let them know that even though you wish some things didn’t take time, you understand there is a reason for waiting.
Switch your attention to other pursuits as well while practicing patience.