The Art of Patience: How to Teach it to Your Toddler
When you have little ones around, you probably have to take them with you everywhere you go. The supermarket, the post office, the bank and everywhere in between. While some of this might be interesting to your toddler like looking at the fruits and vegetables in the produce section, other parts of it, like waiting in line, are most definitely not. Children at this age don’t have the capacity to understand why they are waiting in line, or why you’re sitting at the traffic light, or anything that delays their gratification. When they want something, they want it now and it’s next to impossible to talk them out of it.
Patience is an art form that even some grown-ups completely lack. While toddlers won’t get this lesson immediately, your consistent behavior when teaching it is crucial in reinforcing this essential life skill.
Cause a distraction
Give your child something else to do while waiting, preferably before they become antsy. You could play a clapping game or count how many people are wearing sneakers or even get him to help you put things from the cart onto the conveyor at the supermarket. The only limits are your imagination so think quickly and keep at it. The time will pass more quickly and you’ll help him avoid a meltdown in line.
Sing a song
Children love songs, and when you’re waiting, you can try singing some of them that you know. If that doesn’t do the trick, try teaching them a new song.
You are living on the edge if you leave the house without a bag of tricks. A hungry toddler is a disaster waiting to happen. Keep snacks in your bag at all times. At the supermarket, buy snacks if you haven’t remembered to stash something in your bag. Many supermarkets have free cookies for children in the bakery section too which can give your child a special treat to look forward to. Toys, games, and crayons and paper are also essentials to keep in your bag. You never want to be caught without them. Try to rotate out the items often too so your child isn’t bored with the variety. Sometimes just switching a toy out and bringing a different one can totally change your child’s tune because of its novelty.
Praise good behavior
Waiting is definitely no fun for anyone, especially those of us with toddlers. But for children, waiting is the kiss of death. That’s why you should remember to make a big deal when they exhibit proper behavior while waiting. Tell them you’re so proud of them for being patient and thank them for waiting with you. You can tell your child, “You made waiting so much more fun!”