Sunday, October 24, 2010

Parenting Tip #55 All it takes is Patience

Patience: A coveted character trait longed for by parents toward their offspring.
When needed: daily, every minute
Why needed: because of ---two year olds, six year olds, ten year olds, teenagers….
How do you acquire it: Now there’s the $64,000.00 question!

How many times a day does a parent need patience? When your baby is crying but you just need to finish fixing dinner, when your two year old is throwing a temper tantrum at Target, when your six year old refuses to hurry and get dressed for school, when your teenager has a sullen expression and refuses to talk to you, when your ten year old hits his sister---again, when your husband leaves his clothes on the floor…..okay, I’ll stop.

But here is a twist. How do you teach your children to have patience? An interesting study was done on children and patience “suggesting that the ability to wait—to be patient—was a key character trait that might predict later success in life.”,5232,23-1-1207-20,00.html (to see video illustrating this research: If that is true, wouldn’t patience be a number one thing parents would want to teach their children?

So how do you teach your children to have patience? Here are some thoughts:
babies: none-their job is to teach YOU patience!
1. play games where they have to wait for their turn
2. teach them to take turns at home
3. don’t let them always be the first to get whatever they want
4. make a calendar so they can mark off days until…vacation, holiday, birthday, etc
5. distract them or focus them to think of something else (like when you’re waiting in a llloooonnnnggggg line
School age/Teens:
1. help them visualize the end result/goal
2. outline steps to reach the goal (such as buying something they want, doing a hard homework assignment, etc)
3. Count to 10-helping them to control their anger
4. Think from the other person’s perspective – when fighting with their sibling, mean school teacher, rules they don’t like
5. Teach about banking, savings, and interest
6. Help direct focus—like during Church, writing assignments, negative thinking
7. Focus on the positive things in life—when they didn’t make a team, during illnesses, trials

But remember, it will take patience on your part before you will see the results on your children’s part.


  1. We watched the video as a family last week after FHE and gave the challenge to Jeffrey. We sat him in a chair at the table, put the marshmellow in front of him and told him if he sat there for 15 minutes w/o eating it or getting off the chair he could have 2 marshmellows. I was impressed, he actually did it! Funny part was, he didn't really like the marshmellows, he didn't eat more than a bite of them so we gave him a piece of candy as his reward instead!

  2. That's interesting. If you would have asked me what the outcome of your experiment with Jeffrey would be, I would have betted that he would, indeed, wait.

    Even though I've only seen him for short times at our music classes, he impressed me as a child who could take turns and wait for instructions. He didn't have to be first to get an instrument or cry if he didn't get the one he wanted.

    Now. Was he born that way or has he been taught? It's probably a combination of both.

  3. First, thank you for your kind words about Jeffrey. That means a lot to me coming from you who I respect so much as a mother.
    I wasn't too surprised that he didn't eat the marshmallow, I was more impressed that he stayed in the chair for 15 min without complaining.
    Now the timeless question of nature vs nuture. I think in Jeffrey's case he was sent to us with a patient and obedient spirit and we just do the best we can not to ruin that.




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