This is a partnered post.
Patience is a virtue, but more than that it’s a vital component of the transition from childhood to adulthood. All children will encounter experiences that anger, frustrate and confuse them and they’ll likely respond in kind (often with unseemly results). This, in turn, can frustrate and anger parents (often with equally unseemly results). The trick, then, is instilling a sense of patience in children from a young age so that they are cerebrally and emotionally equipped to deal with life when it doesn’t quite go their way. This sounds simple enough but let’s not forget that as parents our job is to insulate our kids against disappointment, which can make instilling patience in our kids difficult (and, if we’re honest with ourselves, we quite often experience lapses of patience too).
Here are some proven ways in which you can engender patience and maturity in your kids.
Start small while they’re small
As with most teaching exercises, the key is to start small then build upwards. Children can be taught to exert patience from a very young age, even as toddlers. Simply getting them to sit quietly for a minute or two before you bring them their drink or dinner is an everyday triumph. This dynamic of encouraging them to defer their gratification can be expanded incrementally as they get older.
Encourage self control
If there’s one thing that all parents dread, it’s temper tantrums. The more we can reduce the risks of standing mortified in supermarkets, smiling in embarrassment as our kids thrash around on the floor and other parents quietly judge us, the better. Self control is highly important skill for kids to learn though it can be difficult when they’re bored, anxious or tired. One of the greatest favors that you will do your child will be not to interact with or even acknowledge them when they’re acting out, as this will lead them to believe that acting out is the way to get what they want.
In an age where instant gratification is the norm, it’s important to purposefully delay your children’s gratifications even if it feels draconian at first. If your son or daughter wants the latest toy, you may be tempted to buy it for them outright just to see their faces light up. Waiting for Christmas or their birthday, however, will prove much more important in building their character.
Pets: The acid test
Almost all children want a pet at some point and determining whether they’re ready or not will depend entirely on their patience and maturity. Lots of kids want the fun side of looking after a puppy; the cuddles, the play time, the (occasional) walks, but they’re not going to be reading puppy pee pad reviews or scooping their pooch’s wayward poops unless they’ve reached a gold standard of patience.
There is no single solution to raising your kids to be more patient. The key is consistency and working away at it every day from a young age but by doing this, you are most likely to be pleasantly surprised by how well your kids rise to your expectations.