No one is a fan of waiting, especially your little ones. If they want your attention or a sweet treat before dinner, they want it now! This is a regular occurrence that happens in every household and can be a frustrating scenario for parents.
This is compounded with the fact that we live in a fast-paced society built on instant gratification. Therefore, patience does not come easily, and it certainly takes boatloads of patience to, well, teach patience.
The idea of patience is an abstract concept that’s not easy for little ones to grasp, so it’s vital for parents to remember one simple rule: children are not mini adults, and their developing minds aren’t easily able to understand this concept.
However, it can be taught through fun montessori activities and a few sneaky techniques. Here are our favourites:
Practise Taking Turns
There’s no better way to teach patience than by practising the art of “waiting your turn.” Sharing can be tough for kids, especially when it’s related to something fun, such as playing with their favourite toy or spending time on the swings. Learning how to take turns can be a great lesson in practising patience, as it lets your child know that sometimes we have to wait for fun things, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Repetition is key to reinforcing this idea, so head to your favourite (busy) park as often as possible or set a timer on certain activities.
A Tap on the Shoulder
Most parents have had to contend with a screaming child trying to get their attention while they’re trying to have a conversation. A great Montessori technique to practise at home to help avoid your child interrupting you is by teaching them to place their hand on someone’s shoulder to let them know they would like their attention. This helps them get your attention without verbally interrupting. To practise, you’ll need someone to help with the activity. Tell your child to gently place their hand on your shoulder as you speak to the person helping you out.
When you’re done speaking to your helper, turn to your child and thank them for waiting patiently. Practise this a number of times, reasonably increasing the length of time your child needs to wait.
Spend Time Gardening
There’s nothing more relaxing and stress-relieving than gardening, making it a great activity for mom and dad too. An activity that requires kids to grow anything is a true test of patience, and certain plants need plenty of time to develop. Have your little ones pick a seed they’d like to grow and help them plant it. This can be a fun activity that adds a little science to them learning patience, and it can be a wonderful experience for your child to watch something grow that they’ve patiently and lovingly cared for.
Help Them Develop Strategies
Whether it’s waiting at the doctor’s office or the airport, help your child find ways to pass the time. Try and find activities that they love to do, but make sure it excludes anything with a screen. Books, puzzles or fun games such as “I Spy” can be a few great activities to include on the list.
Young children are little sponges that soak up everything they see and hear. While developing strategies and fun activities are great ways to teach patience, you’ll need to keep in mind that your child is always learning from their biggest teacher – you. Be mindful of your body language and words around your little ones while also placing reasonable expectations on them when it comes to learning any new skill.
Montessori And Patience…
Dr Maria Montessori recognised the importance of developing patience in the early stages of a child’s development. A Montessori environment provides an organised and predictable space for your child, making it an ideal place to teach and practise patience.
Helping your child develop this virtue will allow them to grow into an adult that is better prepared for society and that is likely to have better physical and mental health in the long run.