The Value of Teaching the Art of Patience to Toddlers
Teaching Toddlers the Art of Patience
Patience is not the quality that comes immediately to mind when we think of toddlers. Quite the opposite. And yet, as much as we perceive our little ones to be at times frantic with impatience, they are doing what comes naturally to them. Toddlers can become overwhelmed as they gain greater awareness of the world around them and their place in it. All around them, they see people able to do the things they would like to do but simply don’t have the strength, dexterity, stature, or language skills.
Understanding the relationship between your toddler’s cognitive and emotional experience and their physical experience of the world will help you to understand their impatience.
How You Can Help
The key to teaching your child the art of patience is modelling patience yourself. This may seem an almost impossible task some days, as you are tested over and again with challenging behaviour. It is vital to keep in mind that your child will learn from you how to cope with difficult emotions. If they see a caregiver explode into a tantrum because they dropped the peanut butter, the child will perceive this behaviour as normal. And while losing our patience happens to the best of us some days, keeping calm as often as possible will benefit everyone.
Tips for Modelling Patience
During an outbreak of impatience, remember to keep your voice low and consistent. Explain as you go why you are doing what you are doing, and reassure your child that everything will be ok. Once your child has seen you manage a situation successfully with a low stress, calm response, they will begin to understand that this is possible for them as well. If you find yourself becoming overwhelmed or frustrated, walk away, or turn your back for a moment and take a breath. You can actively teach these skills to children as well. The more they practice patience, the easier it will become.
Pick Your Battles
While it is important to guide children with consistency, there are some days when there are just too many No’s. Choose an issue that you are comfortable with and let your child ‘win’ occasionally. This will alleviate rapidly accumulating stress and give you a time out. This doesn’t mean you are inconsistent, just that you are human. Giving your child some power back, and a little autonomy will work wonders for their stress levels, and could save a whole lot of heartache later in the day.Flexibility and adaptability are important behaviours to model for children and will help them master the art of patience themselves.
Approaching this stage of development with mindfulness will help to keep it in perspective. Sharing the load with other caregivers is a valuable step in maintaining the energy required at this stage of parenting. Mindarie Keys Early Child Care Educators are highly experienced with this stage of development, and able to model a range of healthy behaviours for your toddler. You can also speak with us about how to continue these positive routines at home.
Contact Mindarie Keys Early Learning School, providing quality education and care for all children.
Phone: (08) 9407 9388