Do Your Kids Know How to Wait? Pt. 2

By Joey & Carla Link

August 30, 2023

Patience is an especially tough quality to come by and to grow in our hearts. In our society today, everything comes fast and easy. The amount of information we have instant access to through the internet is staggering.

Patience is a virtue that has been thrown out the window. Why? Patience requires us to slow down and it requires us to wait. We talked about waiting in the first blog in this series. It is “to stay put or to delay doing something until a certain amount of time has passed or until it is scheduled to happen.” (Merriam-Webster) Another way to look at it is to think of it as “the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble or suffering without getting angry or upset.” (Britannica) Let’s look at some things about patience to teach your kids and how to get it.

1.     Being patient means controlling your emotions instead of immediately (that’s the impatient part) acting on them. It is the “ability to remain calm and not become annoyed when waiting for a long time or when dealing with problems or difficult people.” (Cambridge) We all have negative emotions when we don’t get our own way. Hopefully with maturity and experience most adults don’t act out on those emotions, but a big one that easily controls all of us is anger. Controlling your emotions to gain the “ability to remain calm and not become annoyed” requires self-control which requires patience to effectively be used. 

When teaching your kids about patience, helping them understand how they respond to their feelings is a choice. They can choose to act out on their anger by saying unkind things or hitting someone they are mad at, or they can take 10 deep breaths and calm themselves instead.

2.     Teaching your kids to learn to be patient will help them develop a good attitude. A lack of patience is often the result of focusing on the negative around them. The thought that nothing ever seems to go their way can lead to depression. Learning how to be patient teaches your kids to persevere and endure difficult situations.

3.     Your kids will have a greater sense of gratitude when they learn to be patient. Being patient will help your kids learn to be grateful for what they do have instead of being focused on what they think they don’t have. 

A review of the best tips to help you work with your kids to develop patience. 

  1. Help them learn to manage their negative emotions by choosing how to respond positively to situations they can’t control
  2. Help them learn to be good listeners
  3. Help them accept what they can’t change
  4. Work with them to slow down and think before they act
  5. Help them to understand what makes them impatient – Is it people they don’t get along with, circumstances they can’t control, or when something doesn’t go their way?
  6. Work with them to learn to take 10 deep breaths, unclench their fists and jaw and other things that will help them immediately calm down
  7. Work with them to problem-solve rather than create a bigger problem by being impatient or not choosing to control their anger. One way for kids to solve a problem always is to come to you and ask you what they should do.
  8. Have reading times instead of electronic time. When they read, they have to take time to imagine what the story looks like in their minds. It takes time and patience to read.

There is a saying; “Good things come to those who wait.” “Wait” is a good word to use with kids when teaching them about patience. Some of our grandchildren are with us while their parents take some time away. One of them in particular can be very negative in how he thinks. We work with him by saying, “We have heard from you all the things you can think of that can go wrong, now tell us all the things you can think of that can go right.”

Teaching patience is not a one-time lesson and when you are finished you think they will work on it. As we hope you can see from the things we have shared, it is more a weaving of things for them to think about throughout things that come up every day. Over time, they will get it if you keep at it.

“The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him;

it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.”

Lamentations 3:25-26 NIV