How to help your child be patient

Children can encounter different struggles with patience depending on what age and stage they’re at, for example, a toddler may become impatient when waiting a couple of minutes for their food to be ready, whereas an older child may need help understanding why Christmas only comes around once a year.

Overall it's safe to say that patience plays a big part in all our lives, especially at this time of year, so we’ve come up with 5 super tips to help!


1. Reasonable expectations

Be mindful that waiting is a skill that children develop over time, and be patient with little ones who struggle with the concept. At first, they’ll need lots of support to understand what's happening and why exactly they have to wait. The more fun ways we find to pass the time while waiting, like setting a timer and counting down together, or counting how many red cars you pass on a long journey, the more our little ones will develop a better understanding and become distracted from the actual waiting time itself.


2. Role models

Remember that you are your little one’s main role model. If you try and show them good examples of being patient in day-to-day life they’re likely to mimic your behaviour over time. It can be good for grown-ups to commentate out loud how they’re feeling in situations that require patience e.g. ‘wow, we’ve been waiting for ages I’m getting really hungry, maybe I will have a drink of water while I am waiting…’


3. Milestones

Festivals, holidays, birthdays and special occasions are fun highlights in your child’s calendar, but waiting for them can prove to be really challenging.

In these situations it’s good to think about how soon we mention particular events to our little ones, for example, you might tell a three year old about going to a birthday party the day before, whereas you could tell a six year old a few days earlier as they’ll be a lot better at handling wait times.

In the lead up to your child's birthday, having them create a gift wish list or a list of fun things they'd like at their birthday party can help with easing the wait. In the lead up to holiday periods activities that produce mini rewards, like advent calendars can offer fun distractions and make waiting an enjoyable experience.


4. Taking turns

Activities that promote taking turns offer great opportunities to build little bits of waiting practice into your lives. Simple board games are ideal for learning how to wait for your turn. If it's a special occasion like a birthday you could play a game like pass the parcel or you could work together on one of our awesome CBeebies jigsaws!


5. Survival techniques

For situations where you feel like your little one may be running out of patience it can be a good idea to have something fun on hand to distract them. You could sing your favourite songs and rhymes or play fun guessing games like I Spy. These activities can help them see that waiting can be fun and that there are loads of fun ways to get through any tricky scenarios that may arise.

If frustrations do happen to build up, a few simple relaxation exercises can provide a helping hand. 


For more useful info check out these great articles below

Helping your child cope with their feelings

What's really going on when children pretend

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