Teaching Children Patience and its Value

It’s not uncommon to see children throwing tantrums. It’s a pretty common scene to see a child crying while waiting in a long line of the grocery or crying because they are getting bored. Many parents, especially new ones, can have a hard time teaching the value of patience to their own children. In situations such as the ones stated above, it’s also difficult to manage as the child may also get frustrated at the same time, and let’s face it, the parents may also feel frustrated.

Patience is a very important value to learn, especially for growing minds. It links to other values that also help mold the child for a better future. For example, determination goes hand in hand with patience as nothing comes easy in reaching an individual’s dream but if they have the determination and patience to continue working hard, they will produce progress. In improving one’s self, patience in yourself is also very important. This is why children should be taught the value of it as early as possible.

Understandably, explaining the concept of patience to a child can be difficult. However, there are many ways for the parent to teach their child and influence them to learn more about the value of patience. In this article, we’re going to discuss some of the tips parents can use to help their child understand the value of patience.

1. Show and demonstrate patience

The question still stands as to what is the most effective and easiest method for the child to understand the value of patience? Of course, patience can be expressed in many ways. The child taught may still be young. If they are still preschoolers, they wouldn’t fully understand concepts that may seem trivial for adults. Their minds don’t work like adults already. Because of this, the easiest way to show them patience is just that — show them patience.

Adults have more restraint when it comes to their emotions than children. This means that they can also choose to remain calm in stressful situations. When the child is throwing tantrums, it’s important for the parent to show calmness and patience with the child rather than also getting upset. Say for example, if the parent and child are waiting for the child’s Math tutor for their home tuition session, but the child wants to continue playing or watching TV, the parent can demonstrate patience during this time. If the child is crying, they can help them calm down first. (Tip: I’ve learned that giving the child or anyone something to drink helps calm them down since they have to concentrate on drinking.) Once they’ve stopped crying, they can then explain the importance of their tuition and remind them of their goals for the tuition.

If the parent snaps back at the child or meets their negative emotion with more negativity, they wouldn’t be able to fully grasp concepts such as patience. Children mimic what they see from adults and if the adult shows them frustration when they are also upset, they may think that is the common way to respond to situations such as. It may be hard to stay calm in situations like this, but this is the parent’s chance to showcase patience to their child.

2. Communicate with the child

A child wouldn’t just throw a tantrum at a shop or grocery store without any reason. If they are having a moment when they are crying, parents shouldn’t just ignore the child and wait for them to stop crying on their own or “get over it”. Most times, they are throwing a tantrum because the parent is ignoring them and they want to be heard. Children also aim to be heard by adults. Acknowledging them and asking them for what they want to do or what they want is better than waiting for the “storm to pass” in a sense.

Communicate with the child when there are issues that causes frustration for them. Acknowledge them and their frustrations. Make sure to use a calm voice and keep eye contact with them when talking with the child. (Another tip: I’ve also learned to level my gaze with crying children. If an adult looks down to them while they are crying, they may seem threatening to the child.) As stated before, if the parent is also showing negative emotion towards the child, it only defeats teaching them patience. When the child sees the parent is calm in situations such as, they will also follow their parent’s lead.

3. Give them time and information

How many times have parents responded to their child’s request or question with the answer “In a minute?” or “Just a second.” Commonly, parents don’t even realize how many times they’ve answered their child with that. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, however, it does also affect teaching them patience when there is no result or answer at the end of the waiting period. Parents may forget the question or the request when they are busy. As a result, the child may ask again after some time, and then the cycle goes on. This can be frustrating for both the parent and the child. The parent may get irritated from the constant questions and interruptions, and the child may get frustrated not getting their answer or request after many moments of waiting.

Next time, the child asks for something, parents should give them a brief explanation why they are busy and they will be free when they finish their task. If parents tend to forget things, they can also use a timer to keep track of the time that has passed. Parents should give themselves appropriate time to finish or compete their task and when the time is up, they can turn their attention to what their child needs.

Additionally, by giving them more information other than “just a second” would be better. Saying that can be very vague and abstract for the child. Rather, why not try giving them more information about the parent’s work such as if the parent is baking, they can say “After I put this in the oven, I’ll be with you”?

This method works well for giving your child the time to practice patience by waiting for you, and it will work even better when the parent actually gives the child what they need. They will them understand that being patient also has its rewards.

4. Apply coping skills

Whenever the parent and the child are in a stressful situation with their family, the parent must incorporate the best coping mechanisms for the situation. There are many instances that the child may start to get antsy and there’s no way for them to get out of the situation fast. By having them taught coping mechanisms for situations, it gives them an outlet to decrease stress and practice patience.

As an example, if the family is stuck in traffic, they can play a game with the child or sing songs in the car. When the parent is cooking and the child is waiting for them to play, they can give them puzzles to pass time while waiting. When they are waiting in line in the grocery, they can listen to music. There are many activities that the parent and child can enjoy without moving around much. As such, there are also many kinds of coping skills that parents can teach their children when they are stuck in a stressful situation.

5. Do activities that teaches patience

In the modern world when most children are glued to the screen of their devices, they would rather stay indoors rather than going outside. Because of this, they are also missing out on activities that can help them learn the value of patience.

There are also many outdoor activities that can help them understand the value of patience more such as planting. Parents can ask the child for help when they working in the garden. Gardening and planting are good activities to teach patience as they have to carefully plant seeds and regularly look after the plant before getting their reward with the plant’s blooms or healthy growth. Another activity they can also engage with are different kinds of sports. They also teach patience as well as other values while also help keep the body and mind healthy.

6. Delayed gratification and keep your promises

There was an experiment called the Marshmallow Experiment wherein children are asked to wait for a certain period of time to eat a marshmallow. If they can successfully wait, they will get twice as much marshmallows. This is an experiment about delayed gratification which can also relate to patience. Reward systems work well with growing children.

Giving rewards to children for their good behavior is a good thing and it’s also common for parents to promise their child to give them a reward if they wait for a certain period of time. Unfortunately, if parents only give these promises in hopes that the child will forget it after some time has passed, they will not be teaching patience effectively. Instead, this will create a warped time mindset wherein five to ten minutes will be “too long” for them. It will make them feel that they have to wait longer than they actually have to.

Because of this, parents should keep their promises when the child asks for how long and be accurate in giving them.



Carelle is a teacher who has been through the ups and downs of the teacher and learner life. She wishes for every learner to gain educational satisfaction that will help embody the people they want to be in the future.

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