Patience is a virtue my grandmother always said. She was right; patience is an important concept for parents to teach their children. In our modern fast paced world, patience is especially hard to teach. How do you teach your children patience?
Create a Calendar
When I was expecting my son, my older daughter was aghast at the fact that it took 9 months to make a baby. How was she ever going to wait THAT long to meet her new sibling!
We made a calendar from post it notes. I numbered each sheet for each day of the rest of the pregnancy. The stack of sheets was pretty high! Each day, she’d rip off a post it note. Of course, it was fun to watch the stack of notes get smaller and smaller over time and the exercise helped to make the waiting that more bearable. I’m happy to announce that we never made it to the bottom of the stack as my son arrived two weeks early!
Of course, this concept also works for other events too. Perhaps you’ve purchased an advent calendar for you children? My children love to open up the doors on the decorative calendar to help them count the days down to Christmas. Somehow, it makes the wait pass quickly.
Plant A Garden
Gardening is a great way to teach your children about patience. It takes a lot of time for a seed to grow into a plant! Of course, during that time, you must water it and care for it. Some seeds grow very quickly, and other seeds take a long time to grow.
Friends of mine planted a small tree in their yard when their child was born. Every year on his birthday, they’d take a picture of their son in front of the tree. This reinforced the idea that some things aren’t finished in a few days, weeks, or even years. Some projects take a while!
Limit the Electronics
I think it’s even more difficult to teach patience to children now because time is a relative concept for most children. I remember when I was a child that it took a while for the TV to “warm up” before we could even see the picture! Now, you can turn on the TV instantly with a push of a remote control. Advances in technology mean that it is possible to download information or games off the internet at “lightening fast speed”. But life outside the electronic world isn’t like this! Problems aren’t solved in 30 minutes like they are on a TV show.
I’ve found that the more exposure my children have to “instant alternative realities”, the more they expect the real world to be like the alternative reality. The real world doesn’t work this way.
My grandmother told me many times that patience wasn’t just for children; parenting requires patience too. Parenting is a project that takes several decades to finish, and even then you really aren’t finished! It seems that patience is an important concept for parents to practice as well as children!