Patience is a waiting game very few preschoolers know how to play. Since their young brains are still developing impulse control, they want what they want now. So how can we help our children learn to wait? We, too, must W-A-I-T.!
Work with your child’s attention span in mind. A preschooler’s focus is equal to approximately four minutes times their age. So a five-year-old has roughly a 20-minute ability to concentrate on one task. Kids can sometimes grow impatient because their minds are not able to pay attention for as long as we ask them to do so. Are your expectations for your child age-appropriate?
Arrange your day with your child where you both have “alone” time and “together” time. Age-appropriate alone time teaches your child patience because it gives them a “boundary time” where they may play by themselves in their room and may not interrupt you. Learning to wait for “together” time to talk to you will increase their self-control.
Identify with your child by validating their feelings, but not their impatience. Try saying something like, “I know you’re upset because you are not allowed to have ice cream until after you’ve eaten your chicken and green beans, but meat and veggies will make you strong.”
Thank your child when they show patience. Say something like, “I’m really glad you ate all your chicken and green beans. Would you like to help me make a chocolate sundae now?” Affirming their patience will encourage them to be patient in the future.
When you W-A-I-T by working with your child’s attention span, arranging their day with “alone” and “together” time, identifying with your child’s feelings, and thanking them when they exercise patience, your child will learn to win the waiting game.
If you enjoyed these tips, you’ll want to check out our blog on Preschoolers and New Sports!
Want to learn more about Kids ‘R’ Kids Learning Academy of Charlotte located in Charlotte, North Carolina? Our mission is to provide secure, nurturing, and educational environments for children ages 6 weeks – 12 years. We help children to bloom into responsible, considerate, and contributing members of society. For more information, give us a call or stop by for a tour! We’d love to get to know you and your family.