Happy Kids | Learning to Be Patient

In chapter six of my ebook, Teach Me to Be Happy, I talk about values and family culture. Our family values kindness, fairness, and respect. We're also big fans of patience.

Kids aren't born patient, oh my no. They're pretty demanding and rightly so. They're programmed for survival and don't really care how annoying their cries are. At some point, before they turn into importunate toddlers, we need to start the gentle lessons of you-are-not-the-center-of-the-universe and you-can-wait-a-few-minutes and please-notice-what-other-people-are-doing.

Patient kids have impulse control, they are polite and considerate, and they enjoy better relationships with friends and family. It's definitely a character trait worth emphasizing. Here are some ways we've taught patience in our home:

  • We teach him how to distract himself, when it's appropriate {sing a little song, drink some water, draw something}. 
  • We do projects together that involve waiting {planting seeds}. 
  • I don't come running immediately every single time he calls. Often I say "I'll come see what you've done when I'm finished what I'm doing." 
  • I praise patience when I see it.   
  • I point out others who are waiting patiently {in line or at the doctor}. 
  • I follow through on my promises {so they learn that the wait will be worthwhile}.  
  • We practice situations where he needs to wait for a turn. 
  • I acknowledge their struggle. I'll say, "I know it's hard to wait." 
  • I purposefully delay sometimes {don't buy the toys they ask for right then, put them on a wish list instead}.

Like so many happy habits, patience is a muscle that must be exercised and developed over time. My patience has definitely been tested and has grown over the last six years. I don't think you can add children to your family and NOT learn patience. :)

So take a deep breath, ask them to wait a moment, don't feel guilty, take another breath, be patient with yourself, and then go talk to your child {calmly!} about whatever it is they need. I know it's hard sometimes. But having patient kids is soooo worth the struggle.