Raising kids can be a challenge at times, especially when it comes to teaching your children the value of patience. Patience is an essential skill for any child as it helps them manage their emotions and be civil in difficult situations. Teaching your kids how to develop and enhance this quality early can help pave the way for improved relationships with others throughout their lives.
Here are ten helpful tips for training your kids' patience from ages one through five so they grow up equipped with these skills!
- Encourage Positive Coping Skills
Positive coping skills are essential for children to develop as they face life's many challenges. Coping skills are the tools kids use to manage their emotions, solve problems, and cope with difficulties and setbacks. These skills help kids build resilience and prepare them to handle life’s temporary problems in a healthy way that sets them up for future success.
One way to encourage positive coping skills in children is to model desired behaviors. Parents can demonstrate good problem-solving strategies while verbalizing the skills they are using. For example, “I need to take a few deep breaths to calm myself down and think before making a decision.” Kids will learn and imitate what parents do and say during challenging situations.
Another way to encourage positive coping skills is to give children some ownership over their experiences. Allow them to take on some responsibility for solving their own problems. On top of that, provide kids with tools and resources to help them work through the confusion. This could involve basic problem-solving exercises, where children work through solutions together. It could also involve teaching them how to identify their feelings and create healthy safety plans when they experience strong emotions.
Furthermore, discuss life situations with kids to help them understand a range of situations and how to handle them. Give them information in an age-appropriate manner and help kids explore the advantages and disadvantages of different approaches to any problem. Allow kids to come up with solutions and discuss them with you. Practice problem-solving in different ways and let them try out different strategies.
- Model Patience Through Your Own Actions
Modeling patience through your actions is a meaningful way to train your kids’ patience. It requires being a good role model and showing them right from wrong. Aside from talking to your kids and telling them what is right and wrong, it’s better to show them in life through your own behavior. That way, they’ll be more likely to understand and connect with you.
To be a positive role model and to model patience, you can show them how to be patient and take their time to do things. This ties in with the idea that “Patience is a virtue.” Show them how you can stay calm in difficult situations, respect their feelings, and take their time to make a decision.
Let them know that it’s ok to wait for things and that it takes patience. Avoid being too strict or being a “yes man” regarding kids. Let them explore and make mistakes, yet offer your guidance. For example, when they want to try something new, be around to watch, and let them practice it with your encouragement.
In addition, be a good listener to your children. Give them a chance to express their feelings, ask their opinions on matters, and show that you understand. You can also explain why patience is important or tell them stories about someone who exhibited patience in difficult situations.
- Establish Clear Routines & Routines
Clear routines include things like setting regular meal times, having certain days designated for certain activities, scheduling time for leisure activities, and establishing bedtimes. Knowing when certain events happen can help kids develop a sense of control and will help them have predictability in their lives. Routines also help kids learn how to keep up with the same tasks each day, such as tidying up their room and brushing their teeth.
Routines, on the other hand, promote responsibility and consistency. This can include ensuring chores are completed at the same time each day or that kids prepare for bed in the same order at night. It also teaches kids the self-discipline needed to complete tasks independently, which will help them build patience.
When it comes to teaching young children patience, establishing clear routines and routines is an important step. By giving kids the structure and stability they need, they can learn the skills needed to regulate their emotions and behavior and become increasingly independent.
- Provide Structured Play Time
When teaching your child patience, structure and consistency are key. Starting with a set routine and schedule helps them anticipate their next activity and encourages them to learn patience as they wait for their turn and wait for instructions to be given. Modeling patience is also necessary; when you become frustrated, take a deep breath and count to ten before responding so your child can follow suit.
At first, start with simple activities that involve short bursts of patience within the structure of the activity. Games like Simon Says help them practice following directions, and activities like painting or using playdough allow them to practice impulse control. As your child gets older and their attention span increases, you can work on activities that require longer periods of patience, such as puzzles and memory games.
Structured playtime also allows you to incorporate new lessons and teachings into play. You can take advantage of the structure to teach your child numbers, colors, letters, and counting. The games and activities can also be adapted to create more difficult tasks to encourage them to continue to grow and learn.
- Establish Consistent Consequences
When considering consequences for your children, it is crucial to choose those that are age-appropriate, logical, and consistent. This means that punishments should match the mistake, so your child understands that the consequence is directly linked to the issue or behavior. Also, the consequences should be related to the value that has been broken – for instance, if the child does not keep their promises, the consequence could be having to do extra chores for a certain period of time.
In addition, the consequences you choose must be consistent and applied every time the rule or expectation is broken or when a specific behavior is not shown. Your children must understand that their behavior, no matter how small, will be met with a consequence, so they learn self-regulation. If the set of rules and corresponding consequences is always the same, children will develop a strong sense of understanding and be able to become more patient in the long run.
Above all else, the consequences you decide to issue should be both respectful and compassionate. As yelling, screaming, or any other hurtful language will not help with teaching patience and self-control, these behaviors must always be avoided when disciplining your children.
- Use Relaxation & Mindfulness Exercises
One of the key activities in training children’s patience is teaching relaxation and mindfulness exercises. Such activities help to reduce stress, clear the mind, and put children in a better physical and mental state to be able to remain calm and patient. Research has shown that a person can become more patient and focused through practice and meditation.
In order to teach relaxation and mindfulness techniques to a child, parents should first model the techniques for the child and provide a safe, comfortable environment for practice. Activities include simple breathing exercises such as inhaling slowly through the nose and exhaling through the mouth. As the child becomes more comfortable with the exercise, parents can add visualizations, progressive muscle relaxation, and yoga poses into the mix.
It is important to explain the purpose of the activity to children in a way that they can understand. Have them sit or lie down in a comfortable position while they practice the breath or other exercises. When introducing yoga, focus on the fun poses that children can do. Demonstrating the yoga moves yourself can be an excellent substitute for verbal instructions, and setting up a narrative to go along with each pose can also help.
- Help Kids Identify Frustrating Situations
One way to help kids identify frustrating situations is to ask them questions about their feelings when something isn’t going as planned. For example, when a child is about to throw a tantrum, ask them to tell you how they feel. If your child can verbalize the different emotions, it can help them process the situation and build their patience.
It’s also essential to allow children to be heard when expressing their feelings. When a child is struggling or frustrated, listen to their story and don’t immediately remove the source of frustration. Ask questions, give them time to think, and use positive discipline (such as setting limits and providing consequences) to help them manage their emotions.
You can also use language to help your child identify a frustrating situation. Instead of simply saying “No” when a child wants something, explain why the answer is no. For example, instead of “No, you can’t have candy before dinner,” try “Yes, you can have candy, but not before dinner because it will spoil your appetite and make it harder for your body to digest your food.” This explanation can help your child understand why it isn’t a good idea to have candy before dinner and can help them develop patience for having to wait until dinner to enjoy their treats.
Assist your child in developing solutions to their grievances and discuss tactics they can use going forward. If, for instance, they become frustrated when not getting a toy they desired, together you could conceive of ways that may benefit the situation - from saving money to purchase it or discovering alternative activities to do instead. This form of problem-solving frequently aids children in nurturing patience while coming up with alternative answers.
- Praise Kids for Exercising Patience
The first step to praising kids for exercising patience is to ensure that the praise is appropriate and warranted. If your child exerts much effort and remains composed in difficult situations, this is an excellent opportunity to praise them. However, if your child tends to overreact or assumes a negative reaction in difficult situations, it may be wise to simply acknowledge their efforts and redirect their behavior. Doing so will help create an understanding that certain behaviors are acceptable but also that certain behaviors aren't.
When you finally praise your child, ensure that you use authentic and specific language. Instead of saying "good job" or "you did a great job, " identify the behavior you are praising. For example, you could say something like, "I noticed how patient you were while waiting in line at the store. You did a great job!" This lets your child know what behavior you actually appreciate and encourages them to do it more in the future.
You should also consider positively reinforcing your child's efforts. This could be done through verbal praise, helpful rewards, or a combination of both. Your verbal praise should be appropriate but significant, such as saying, "I am so proud of how patient you are in difficult situations like this." On the other hand, helpful rewards could range from a small treat or a simple positive experience. Rewards should be proportionate to the effort your child exerts, emphasizing small successes.
- Promote Open & Respectful Communication
To promote open and respectful communication, parents should always start out by listening to their children. While it can be difficult to remain patient when listening to a child who’s vocalizing a lot, it is essential to remember that listening to a child is the best way to build trust and understanding. Children should always feel they can come to their parents with any problem, fear, or worry and not be judged or ignored.
The next step to ensure open communication is to encourage children to express their feelings. When children feel like they can express themselves, their understanding of how to handle emotions increases; with this in mind, a parent can promote communication by verbalizing what the child might be feeling, and then asking the child to name the feeling. This allows the conversation to move forward in a more positive direction as the child will learn how to express themselves through practice.
It is also essential to make sure that communication is kept respectful. Everyday communication with adults often doesn’t adhere to this, with adults normally speaking in a harsher or bossy way. It is crucial to be conscious of this and to speak to a child respectfully, making sure not to talk over or ignore the child. When disciplining or giving instructions, the child should always be given a clear explanation of what it is they are expected to do, and why.
- Celebrate Small Victories
For each milestone your child reaches, keeping an open line of communication with them is important. Make sure to explain why it is important to be patient and how their efforts made the outcome possible while still being friendly and understanding. Additionally, it is essential to ensure that the child has someone they can trust to talk to while they are learning patience and navigating new scenarios.
Rewarding your child for success, no matter how small, is also essential. Children need to know that even small achievements will be recognized and praised, giving them a sense of accomplishment and encouraging them to continue developing their patience. Providing rewards such as verbal and physical compliments, stickers, treats, or even a special reward or activity will help to solidify their success.
Explicitly telling a child the positive results of their effort is another great way of celebrating their progress. Sharing stories of successful patience and how it pays off not just immediately but in the long run, is a great way to remind them why being patient in the moment is so important.
Raising kids is sometimes challenging, but teaching them the value of patience is a fundamental life skill. By using the ten tips listed here, parents can set their kids up for success by equipping them with a valuable and valuable skill in mastering patience.
As your child grows, they will encounter many situations requiring patience. By instilling these methods into your parenting style, you are giving your child the tools to navigate tricky scenarios and encouraging them to continue becoming more patient as they grow.
Remember that patience is a skill, and with practice comes mastery. By equipping your child with the right skills, you are setting them up for success and helping to prepare them for their journey in life.