“Patience” and “preschoolers” may seem like oil and water at times. Patience is just not something that we are born with. That is what makes teaching patience all the more important! So, let’s dive in to some practical ways to practice patience with your preschooler.
Look in the Mirror
Before you can teach something to your child, you must first have a good grip on it yourself. Patience is no different. As adults, we live in a world of meetings, and deadlines, and rushing about our days. But, children, free from those obligations, do not process time constraints quite the same way as we do. Because of this, we can sometimes be impatient with them! So, before you can teach your child how to be patient, think, “Do I model patience for my child?” Do you wait as your child struggles to get on her shoes, or do you rush her out the door? Do you complain about the morning traffic, or do you calmly drive her to school? Is your life constantly run by the next deadline, or do you schedule times to relax as a family? All of these are things to consider when you think about how you model patience to your child.
Patience by Definition
An easy way to explain to a preschooler what patience is is to say, “Patience is waiting with a good attitude.” We all know that small children do not like to wait! And, they make sure everyone knows it! “Are we there yet?” and “I’m tired of waiting!” are never fun things to hear your child say! So, let’s play a waiting game with them to sharpen those skills! Simply get 3 marshmallows, or small pieces of candy (like M&Ms or Skittles) and place them on the table in front of your child. Before they have a chance to gobble them up, explain the rules of the game. You will set the timer for 3 minutes. They are welcome to eat the treat whenever they want. BUT, if they wait the whole 3 minutes without touching the treat, they will be rewarded with two additional pieces when the timer runs out. After explaining to them these rules, set the timer and walk away. When the timer beeps, return and see how your little one did! (Yes, you will want to hide around the corner and watch what happens. It can be pretty amusing to see how they distract themselves for three minutes!)
Praise Their Successes
Everyone likes to be acknowledged for a job well done. Tackling something as hard as patience is definitely something we need to praise in our children. When you see your child sitting quietly at the doctor’s office waiting for their name to be called, let them know that you noticed. When he waits patiently in line at the checkout at the store, point it out to him (and maybe get him a treat once in a while). By pointing out to children that they are doing something right, even when they don’t realize they are doing it, you solidify the concept of patience to them and make it sound like it is an achievable goal after all!
If you enjoyed these tips, you’ll want to check out our previous blog on Preschoolers and Halloween Crafts!
Want to learn more about Kids ‘R’ Kids Learning Academy of Sienna Plantation located in Missouri City, Texas? 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.