Take a moment and reflect on your past week as a mom. How many times do you think you’ve told your child to “wait”? And if you have more than one child, how many times have you said it to them all combined?
Personally, I think it’s impossible for me to keep up with how often I say “wait” or “just a minute” or “hold on”. I probably utter it about once every five minutes during my waking hours, especially to my youngest child.
But my older kids have grown to a point where they can show a lot more patience than they did before. And that’s why I wanted to share a few tips about how to teach patience to children. These have worked in our family and, hopefully, they’ll work in yours too!
Learn more about how to help kids develop this skill with this list of activities that teach children patience!
How to Teach Patience to Children:
First, be reasonable in how much patience you expect from your kids. For children under five, an attention span of just a few minutes is pretty common. So, when you’re ready to work on this skill, start very slowly.
You might just challenge a child to sit quietly or stand in place for a few seconds. Expect them to have trouble! They’re definitely little wiggle worms in the early years.
Try timed sessions.
After you’ve been working on developing patience for a week or so, try some brief timed practice sessions. Use a regular kitchen timer and set it for 30 seconds. See if your child can sit quietly without speaking for the entire time.
As kids improve, gradually lengthen the time to one minute, then two minutes, then four minutes, then five. I can tell you from experience: When you have that first successful five-minute sitting session, it feels like an actual treat. Five minutes of quiet = a day at the spa, in my opinion. LOL!
Offer a small reward.
Kids love to collect prizes! So, try to offer a few small rewards for your child as they learn to wait. You could use a simple chart system where one minute of waiting quietly is worth a happy face sticker. Good times for these rewards are when they wait quietly as you talk on the phone or wait in line at the store.
As kids collect stickers through the week, you can treat them to a small prize, such as a book or an inexpensive toy, when they reach a certain number of stickers.
Make it a game.
Of course, the easiest way to teach anything to a child is to make it into a game and patience is no different. If you have more than one child, see who can sit quietly for the longest stretch of time. The winner gets to pick the family’s next dessert!
If you have only one child, create a challenge that allows your child to think up all the ways he or she can entertain themselves quietly while learning to wait. Then see how many of their ideas they can try within five minutes!
How to Teach Patience to Children Resources:
These fun Amazon affiliate resources make it easy to teach children to be patient!