Tips on How to Teach Your Child Patience
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Tips on How to Teach Your Child Patience

Because patience is not an innate virtue, young children must be taught the art of waiting for what they want. Because you are more experienced in knowing whatÂ’s best for your child, youÂ’re more qualified to control when he can do what he wants to do and what conditions must be met before he does it. Explain these conditions clearly.

Because patience is not an innate virtue, young children must be taught the art of waiting for what they want.  Because you are more experienced in knowing what’s best for your child, you’re more qualified to control when he can do what he wants to do and what conditions must be met before he does it.  Explain these conditions clearly.

Also, show him how having patience pays off in your life, too.  Your child is discovering that the world will not always revolve around his desires.  It’s not too soon for him to start learning how to cope with this often frustrating fact of life.

Here are some tips to prevent the problem:

Provide a menu of activities from which your child may choose.

Set up conditions that must be satisfied before your child gets his own way, and provide him with suggestions for activities he can do while he’s waiting for what he wants.

Encourage patience.

Reward even the slightest sign of patience by telling your child how glad you are he waited.  Define patience if you think he might not be familiar with the word.  This teaches your child that he does have the ability to put off his wants, even though he doesn’t know it yet.  It also helps him feel good about himself, because you feel good about his behavior.

Remain as calm as you can.

If your child protests waiting or not having things his own way, remind yourself that he’s learning a valuable lesson for living:  the art of patience.  By seeing you be patient, he’ll soon learn that demanding doesn’t get his wants satisfied as quickly as getting the job done.

Be positive.

If your child is screaming, “I want ice cream!  I want ice cream!” simply state the conditions he must meet in order to satisfy his wants.  Be positive.  Say, “When you’ve picked up your toys then you can have ice cream.”

Avoid a flat “No.”

Whenever it’s possible and safe, tell your child how he can have his own way.  Avoid making him feel that his desires will never be satisfied.   Sometimes, you may need to say no to your child (when he wants to play with a match, for instance).  At those times, try to offer alternative toys to satisfy his wishes and to foster a sense of compromise and flexibility.

Don’t demand that your child do something “now.”

Demanding that your child immediately do what you want contradicts the lesson you’re trying to teach.  If you don’t want him to demand instant results, don’t do it yourself.

Don’t reward impatience.

Don’t give in to your child’s desires every time he wants his own way.  Although it may be tempting to do so in order to avoid a battle or a tantrum, constantly giving in only reinforces his impatient behavior and fails to teach him patience.

Make sure your child knows it’s not his demanding that got his wants fulfilled.

Though your child may moan and groan throughout the waiting time, make sure he knows that you’re getting in the care because you’re ready and your jobs are done, not because he wailed his way out the door.

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Comments (9)

I agree with most things except avoiding saying NO - children MUST learn to accept the word NO - otherwise they grow into adults that struggle with hearing these words. It is important children learn patience but too many parents are lazy and think they need to entertain their kids all the time - I call this lazy because it is the easier way out. When I was young my parents drove from Edmonton, Alberta to San Diego, California with 4 kids, this was long before we even had air conditioning - we had to learn how to sit and look out the window and entertain ourselves. Today's lazy parent pops in a video just to drive 5 minutes to the store - the kids never learn patience.

Nice article. I do agree with Brenda on the issue of saying NO. It is a fact of life that one cannot always have what they want. Teaching a child that they will never hear the word no fosters a false sense that will always be with them. Having said that, I believe I understand what you were trying to say. It isn't that you try to teach the child they will always get what they want. The advice Aileen was giving was that the child should be taught that focussing on the denial of a want will cause the child to become angry. Her advice seems to be to explain to them that they can find alternatives when the thing they want isn't possible. It is a subtle difference that teaches them to shift from the negative, (I want and I can't have) to a positive ( I can find something else I can have). Am I on the right track, Aileen?

Patience is always a virtue and of course, it is our bounden duty to inculcate it in a child as early as possible.Thanks for the nice article,.

Thank you, every one, for the helpful comments. Yes, Brenda, I agree that lazy parents just leave their kids with the TV on to entertain them. You are right with that, Richard. Parents should avoid saying a flat, simple NO - there should be an explanation on why you have to tell NO and I believe there can always be an alternative way to satisfy a child's wish.

Thank you for such an article on the value of patience.

Very useful advise. I have been struggling to teach my kids about patience. For me, remaining calm is the hardest thing to do as parent. Thanks for your tips.

Good parenting as usual Aileen.

Thank you Aileen for this article, an essential to the teachers. Voted. Hope to be in your support.

Interesting and useful information. Well done Aileen