Teaching Kids to be Patient
If you tell your kids to be patient, what exactly are you asking them to do? It is defined in the Oxford Dictionary as “the capacity to accept or tolerate delay without getting angry or upset.“ So if you promise your children you are going to a waterpark this weekend and your husband gets called in to work, this definition says if they are patient your kids will accept the delay without getting upset or angry.
To be patient takes self-control. So why are you expecting your kids who aren’t consistent in showing self-control to be patient? Teaching your child to have self-control is a building block in the foundation of teaching them to wait. Patience is “waiting” and that is how to describe it and refer to it to young children.
How can parents teach kids to learn to wait? Here are 3 key ways to accomplish this.
1. Use opportunities that occur during the day to teach them what “waiting” looks like. When you are getting ready to go somewhere, this is a great time to teach patience. Ask them to get their shoes on and wait by the door. Ask them to tell you what “waiting” looks like. Then ask them if you can trust them to wait in the way they just described to you.
2. Use tasks and skills to teach them nothing comes easy. I (Carla) taught piano for many years. I would warn parents of beginning students if their child couldn’t play their assigned songs right away they would ask to quit lessons. Patience is necessary to learn to play an instrument, a sport or learn any academic subject because many steps have to be learned well to produce the desired result. Learning patience in tasks and skills is key to a child’s emotional growth.
3. Use chores and homework to teach them to take the time to do it right. Once you tell your kids how you want the chore done, if they didn’t do it right or completely, instead of lecturing them, tell them to sit to get their heart right. When they come to you to apologize, to make it right they should be willing to do the chore or schoolwork correctly, with a good attitude. After the chore/schoolwork is done correctly, give them the consequence of doing more chores during their free time that day.
In Galatians 5:22-23 patience is listed as a fruit of the Spirit of God. This means when you and/or your child are working on it you can always pray and ask God to help you wait. Ultimately, the biggest reason everyone needs to learn patience is so we will be able to wait on God for His timing which is rarely our timing.