It’s no secret that children can be impulsive, demanding, and impatient at times. But there are a few great ways to tackle these issues and teach your infant patience in just a few short steps. Try some of the following techniques!
You can also find some great resources for parenting here.
Patience Stretching Technique
Patience stretching is one of the quickest methods for improving your child’s patience through gradually increasing their experiences with waiting for gratification. You can read about this method in-depth here. Simply put, you must learn to almost give your child what they want:
Say your child asks for a snack while you’re busy. Stop whatever you are doing to acknowledge them. Start to get them the snack but stop short and act as if looking for something else, exclaiming “Oh wait!”
After just a few seconds, give your child the snack and praise them for waiting. This quick response rewards your child for their patience and gives them the impression that even if they have to wait a little bit, you will still give them what they want.
Over time, make them wait a few more seconds each time before you reward them to stretch out their patience.
Patience Stretching with a Timer
You can also use a simple timer in this method for an alternative approach:
First, find a time to explain how the timer works to your child when they are calm and attentive. Tell them that when the timer goes off, you will come right back to them!
When they later start pestering you for something, start by immediately responding and almost giving them what they want, before exclaiming “Wait!” and appearing to suddenly remember something.
Set the timer and tell them you will be back when it rings.
When you get back, give them what they have asked for and verbally praise them for waiting.
Gradually increase the duration of the timer, starting low at around 20 seconds and working your way up to a few minutes.
Speaking in Public
When your child wants to say something in public, you will need to find a way to train them to wait. One such method involves a simple action that the child must take before speaking, to let you know they want something without interrupting:
This may be putting their hand on your leg, to which you should immediately respond in kind, i.e. put your hand on theirs or nod to acknowledge them.
After a short delay, turn to them and ask what they wanted to say, praising them and thanking them for waiting.
It is important with this technique to avoid a double-standard – extend the same courtesy to your child when you want to talk to them while they are occupied, so they learn that this respect and patience are normal.
For more detailed information on how to handle difficult situations with your child in public, read this article.
At the end of the day, some people simply have much more patient temperaments than others and even the most patient of children can have bad days and act out. So, what can you do?
It is vital to identify the triggers of negative reactions to learn how to handle them.
Perhaps your child is quickly frustrated by a particular activity: calmly show them how to improve and be patient with them as they learn.
This means being aware of the fact that your child is watching you and handling difficult situations calmly, with patience and respect to pattern such desirable behavior for your child. By embodying the ideal attitudes and behaviors you want them to mimic, you are normalizing them. Whether you are a stay-at-home-mom or not, this is vital!
Avoid any demonstrations of your frustration (e.g. rolling your eyes, complaining, etc.) as this will give them the impression that waiting is bad. Try to take issues as they come, laugh at complications, and problem-solve out loud to impress a standard model on them of how to handle stress and frustration with patience and positivity.
Mistakes to Avoid
Avoiding sarcasm is essential, as your child may not always pick up on your meaning and be confused and more frustrated. Be clear when communicating with them in stressful situations.
Another common mistake is constant nagging and rushing – it sets a negative precedent to the child that doing what they are told, dealing with frustrations, and being patient with others is a hassle, a chore. Demonstrate patience yourself by being clear and neutral in handling stressors.
Of course, you will have to try a few things to find what works best for your particular child, as every infant has a different temperament and level of patience. But these are just some of the many possible techniques for teaching your child patience to ready them for interactions. For five more tips on teaching patience, check out this article.
Linsey C. Martin is a freelancer who found her passion for writing at LuckyAssignments.com and Gumessays.com, where she enjoys sharing her knowledge with her readers, listening to their success stories, and applying her tips and tricks in various fields. She also writes for the Researchpapersuk.com blog.