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Teaching your child patience: Why and How

Patience is a virtue. This is often said, and it is not a lie. Life has its ups but it also has downs, and naturally, we tend to be frustrated by the downs. And it is the most common reaction of humans to yell or act out when angry. But just because the reaction is common, doesn’t mean it should be encouraged. As individuals, we come across many such events in our life where it would be beneficial to practice patience than to lose our calm.

Children especially struggle with patience, because it means that they will have to wait for their demands to be met, or for things to work the way they hope for, and that is not how they are - children like their wishes to be immediately fulfilled. Of course, we as adults struggle to remain patient, so we can’t really expect our children to be patient, can we? But parents must take the time to teach their children values like patience. Here’s why and how:

Patience goes a long way

I’m sure that at some tough point in your life, people might have told you to keep cool and be patient. Ever wondered why they suggested patience instead of taking action?

Humans are emotional beings, and we tend to react emotionally to events in our life. While this makes us kind and caring, it can also get in the way of our thinking and judgment. We may then take bad decisions on the spur of the moment. We regret it later.

Children too, can be frustrated by life events and while displaying some anger is only natural, you wouldn’t enjoy your child having a meltdown and screaming at you in public. While this is okay once in a while, making a habit of allowing your child’s aggression is harmful for their future. What if they have to deal with a very difficult boss or colleague?

Patience is the new ‘success’

Patience is also a huge mantra for success, because the goals you set are not always achieved immediately. It can be really difficult to remain patient when your promotion is delayed, or when your goals are not fulfilled. But in order to chase them better, you need to have patience, so that you can step back, look at what went wrong and think clearly for another plan. Patient people are able to try again and again, and ultimately, succeed.

Patience and relationships

Of course, children learn from their parents. So setting a good example is the first step to teaching your child values like patience. You may disagree with your partner on a lot of things, but it always helps if both of you try not to have conversations about it when you’re still angry. It avoids each of you from saying anything that may hurt the other. This will help your child learn to handle the ups and downs of their friendships and relationships when older.

Tricks to teach your child patience

The first trick is to start teaching your children the good habits at an early age. Here’s some things you can try:

Make them wait

You don’t always have to rush to fulfill your child’s demands. You can sometimes make your toddler wait calmly for 1 or 2 minutes until you give them more milk or food. This will teach them that screaming or fighting will not get them what they want.

Teach them to take turns

Often, your child will have to wait for their turn at the park. If your child struggles waiting for his turn at the swing, make sure that you visit the park more often, and teach your child that it is a good thing to wait for one’s turn. This also teaches them to be courteous and take other people into account. It’s a great way to let them interact with and learn from other children.

Storytime

Telling your children moral stories or even funny ones, about patience can help them understand what you mean by patience. It also teaches them to wait while you tell them the story, become good listeners and wait for an outcome rather than expect immediate results.

Play games to teach them patience

One such game is the silence game. Get the entire family involved in this activity. Sit together in a circle, and set a timer for around 5 minutes. You can slowly increase this to 7 and 10 minutes. Tell them that the game is to keep quiet and stay still until the timer says so. Keep the time period a secret. Also play board games and jigsaw puzzles as it will teach your kids to wait for their turn and deal with not winning all the time.

Take up gardening

Most of the activities like games and stories give results quickly, but waiting for a plant to grow and to see what a seed turns into can be a long wait, and if you involve your child in each step, teaching them to habitually care for the plant, not only will it make them patient, but they will also learn some responsibility.

Don’t let them interrupt

Teach your child not to interrupt conversations. This applies to when you’re on the phone as well. It will help them at school, in friend groups, and at work.

Patience and older children

Older children have more control over the things they do, but to teach them patience, make sure that you don’t always give in to their demands and requests immediately. Using words like “I’ll let you know soon” or “Give me some time to think about it” are good ideas.

Patience is the best gift you can give your children. There are so many other ways you can teach your child patience, and the journey is a long and difficult one, but don’t worry, your children will thank you for it one day! Different moms use various tricks. How do you teach your child to be patient? 

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