One of the best and hardest things about raising children is trying to sculpt their minds and hearts into ones that will make their worlds better. Patience is one of the virtues we certainly want to instill in our young ones, but how can we do that?
1. Show them what patience looks like.
Children come with their own personalities and tendencies, but many of their behaviors are mirrored from what they see around them. If they see you being patient when the bagger at the grocery store takes a long time, when they try to color on the walls, or when someone says something that hurt you, they will start to display those same behaviors. When they are being impatient with you, try to keep your response kind and understanding, rather than getting upset with them. Talk to them about why they need to wait patiently, and let them tell you what they are really feeling.
2. Find & teach healthy ways to express frustration
While we would love to think we can just never get frustrated, that is rarely the case in real life. Sometimes, we humans get irritated with the way things are done, and it is unrealistic to think our children will not also feel those things every now and then. To help them learn patience even when they are frustrated, try to help them find gentle ways to express those emotions. Instead of screaming or kicking, help them identify their emotions and how they can calm down. Ask questions about what would help them, and listen to their answers. Help them find ways to healthily express frustration that will work for them. Here are some great ideas for things they can do to help with their frustration!
3. Recognize and praise when they are being patient.
One of the best ways to reinforce these lessons is to praise them when they are doing it right! When you see them being patient with a friend or when a situation does not go their way, don’t just say “Great job!” Take the time to praise them specifically, to let them know what exactly they did that showed the way they are learning patience.
When your children see you truly taking the time to display patience, help them learn about it, and praising it in them when they show it, they will be quick to learn this crucial virtue!