Dear Dr. Renee,
I know you have written about kids not interrupting before, but I need help teaching my kids to be patient. What happens when they get back to school this fall and don’t wait for someone else to take a turn?
This is a question I hear a lot – and not just related to the pandemic!
I would agree that lack of patience has been amplified in the pandemic, especially if children have not been able to interact much with other children (in-person or virtually). However, it is important that children are not taught to play or put in the victim role because of the pandemic.
Treat learning patience as you would any other important skill children need to learn to become well-functioning adults. You, as the adult, might just need to have a little more patience along the way …
Here are four tips to teach patience to your children:
- Play games. Board games or hopscotch are just two examples where players must take turns and be patient until the other people are done with their turns.
- Cook or bake something together. Making chocolate chip cookies from scratch is my favorite example, but it could be anything you or your child wants. After you stir all your ingredients together and pop them in the oven, you must wait until they are done.
- Grow something in a garden or in a container. Some things sprout quicker than others. Whether you grow something to eat or something to look at (i.e., flowers), they all take time before you see the results of your efforts.
- Model patience for your child. This does not mean you have to be perfect!!! You can model your frustration when you want something sooner than it is available (you want to have your turn during the board game). You can model a mistake when you are impatient (cookies are not cooked all the way or you burn your finger because you grabbed one too quickly). You can also model your excitement when you are patient, and you wait long enough for something you planted to actually grow.
Those tips should get you started. Please let me know if you have any other questions or if there is any other way that I can help!
– Dr Renee
Check out: How to Stop Constant Interruptions