5 Ways to Teach a Kid How to Wait
Not every adult is able to wait patiently, to say nothing of kids. But there are methods that can help you develop self-control and not die of boredom – without resorting to any gadgets at that.
We at Bright Side were surprised when we discovered that’s even possible. Yet here’s more proof that true genius lies in simplicity.
5. Visualize time
Children start to develop abstract thinking around the age of 9. Before that, their mind works in a more concrete way, which is the reason why it might be hard for them to tell the difference between 15 and 45 minutes. To bypass that, it’s useful to visualize time whenever possible.
Wrong: "We’re leaving in an hour." "You have 10 minutes to put your toys away."
Correct: "Dad will be home from work when the sun goes down behind that roof over there."
Waiting will not be so excruciating for a child if he or she can make a comparison like "Oh, this’ll be as quick as brushing my teeth."
4. Teach your kids games they can play alone
There are several reasons why playing alone is important for children. One of them is being able to entertain themselves anywhere and anytime. Children’s imaginations have no boundaries, and these games do not require any preparation or special objects.
Wrong kind of games: Smartphone or tablet games hinder the development of imagination and creativeness (the course and result of the game being predetermined by its developer).
Right kind of games: Jigsaw puzzles, treasure hunts, making up fairy tales, role-playing, etc.
There are several ways to teach a child to play independently, and the results will exceed all expectations if you arm yourself with patience.
3. A lifesaving game for public places
It’s always boring for children to wait until the bus arrives or mom comes back from the shop. For these occasions, there is an excellent way to divert their attention.
The game: Two participants make a wish and agree on a feature they will look for in the surrounding objects (color, shape, first letter of a name). The one who is first to count 20 (or any other number) objects with the chosen feature wins and has the right to demand the fulfillment of his or her wish. For instance, you can count passing cars while waiting at a bus stop or signs while traveling.
What’s the trick: Firstly, this is a very addictive game which also allows you to adjust the rules depending on the child’s age. Secondly, a parent doesn’t have to actively participate since children usually count for two.
2. A simple way to not interrupt adults
Allison Hendrix is a blogger and mother of two whose Interrupt Rule blew up the Internet with its simplicity and brilliance.
The rule: When a child wants to say something while their parent is talking to someone else, they should just put their hand on their parent’s arm or shoulder. If the parent touches their hand in response, it means that the child has been "heard" and will be attended to as soon as possible.
Why it works: By maintaining contact the adult makes it clear that the child is being treated with respect and not ignored.
1. Waiting for big events (birthday, Christmas)
Even if children learn to not interrupt adults and have fun on their own, it is still difficult for them to wait for important dates (Christmas, birthday, vacations, and so on).
How to help: An Advent calendar can help make the wait shorter. Each day before the upcoming date is marked by postcards with wishes or creative tasks, little sacks with presents, or packets of candies. Any of these options will be enjoyed by children of all ages: they all love surprises, after all.