Ways and Activities to Teach Children Patience

In this Article

  • Why Should You Teach Patience to Children?
  • How to Teach Patience to Kids?
  • Patience Activities for Children

Patience happens to be one of the most important qualities to have, making it a lesson that is valuable for a lifetime. Even adults struggle with patience, and so it is even more important to instil the quality of patience in your child right from a young age. One of the best ways to teach a child how to be patient is to be patient yourself and practice it daily. This is not everyone’s cup of tea though, as some people are naturally more inclined to be patient than others.

Why Should You Teach Patience to Children?

Children are not naturally inclined to be patient, and you will find that waiting in lines or sitting still when you take them out to dinner at a fancy restaurant can be a bit of a challenge. For all of you to have a more pleasant life, it is important to teach your kids the importance of patience, and help them practice it.

Today’s world is filled with instant gratification and children almost never have to wait for much. This makes it much more difficult to teach them how to be patient as there is so little chance for them to practice it.

Still, there are times when a child will need to learn to be patient, such as while waiting at the doctor’s or while waiting for her turn in a game. Teaching kids how to be patient is very important and should not be taken lightly. It will spare you and your child a lot of frustration in the future.

How to Teach Patience to Kids?

Teaching how to be patient to toddlers is a great idea as it is never too early to start. Starting from a young age will make your children more likely to learn the concepts right from the beginning, making putting things into practice that much easier for you and for them. Here are tips to help:

1. Practice Patience

It is not easy getting the kids cleaned up, fed, and ready for school on time in the mornings, nor is it an easy task trying to get them to be on time for an appointment. It is in these situations that it is important that you put your patience into practice so that your kids will have an example to look up to when it comes to being patient.

2. Start Small

Look for opportunities in your daily life to make the little one wait for something she wants. A minute or two is more than enough to start with; she will slowly learn about the concept of waiting, and as she starts to understand, you can increase the wait time to make her wait just a bit longer.

Start small while teaching patience

3. Maintain the Right Attitude

While modelling patience for your little ones, always remember to stay calm, smile, and try to tackle any unwanted problems with positivity, perhaps even thinking out loud so that your children can join in the problem-solving. Being grumpy and complaining or rolling eyes is something that should be avoided at all costs because this simply results in your children becoming more impatient, as they may be in a hurry to make you feel happy.

4. Make Use of Reflective Listening

When your child complains that she would rather be playing or doing something other than waiting, make sure to keep calm and encourage her to talk about her feelings. Take her seriously and try to come up with a solution.

Mother listening to child

5. Teach Delayed Gratification

Making your children wait for a little while before giving them something that they want will teach them how to be more patient. For example, if you are washing the dishes and your child asks you to go play with them, you can ask your child to wait until you are done with what you are doing, and then go play with them.

6. Stick to Your Timing

Instead of saying “in two minutes” and never following through, set a timer for the time you feel you will need and then stick to giving your little one attention when the time is up.
A way to avoid giving time and being unable to follow through is to explain time to them through actions. For example, instead of telling them that dinner will be ready in 15 minutes, try telling them that dinner will be ready once the potatoes are cooked.

Mother daughter cooking

7. Encourage Coping Mechanisms

If you already know that you are going to have to wait for some time at a particular place, be prepared and carry some coloring books or fun distractions that your child will find interesting.

8. Acknowledge Patience

Patience is a skill, and when your child shows patience, you need to acknowledge and reward it so that your little one will be more encouraged to do it again. For example, if you take your child to the doctor’s office and your little one sits down with their coloring books to color and do not fuss, you can always tell them how proud you are of their patience and good behavior.

Mom proud of her child

9. Enjoy Slow Activities

Play board games or indulge the kids in some crafts, such as origami, as they take much longer than fast-paced modern video games. Avoid giving your children your smartphone to keep them occupied as this does the opposite of what you want it to. Sure, it will keep them distracted, but the games will actually teach them to become more impatient and distracted, and will also not allow them to know how to cope in the absence of technology.

10. Turn Waiting Into a Game

 A favorite amongst parents is playing ‘I Spy’ while waiting in a line. This keeps the children from wandering off and will allow them a chance to take in their surroundings.

Playing I Spy

Patience Activities for Children

Simply explaining things to children does not have the same effect as having them experience it. Here are some activities and patience games for children:

1. Pass the Parcel

Wrap a present in many layers and hand it over to the kids. Ask them to take turns opening the layers. This will teach them patience in a fun way.

2. Bake

Measuring the ingredients and waiting for the baked goods to cook through and cool requires patience from your child; of course, it comes with some scrumptious rewards at the end of it.


3. Grow a Plant

Even after it is planted, a seed will take some time to grow into a plant, and your child will experience her hard work bearing fruits slowly.

4. Go Fishing

Fishing is an activity that really requires a lot of patience as you wait for the fish to bite. If you do not want to harm any fish in the process, you can always avoid using hooks and release the fish once caught.

Fishing teaches patience

5. Work on a Puzzle

Get a big enough puzzle to keep your child entertained for a while. Having to work on something for a while before getting to see the results really builds patience in a child.

6. Get Creative

If you must wait for a while, get creative with the little ones by asking them to come up with a story, but one where they must take turns and say only one sentence at a time. It should be a fun game for all of you as kids can be very creative sometimes.

Getting creative with storytelling

7. Catch the Drizzle

This is a fun game that you can play when the monsoon is starting. When it starts to drizzle, ask your little one to fill a bucket or a mug full of rainwater. Waiting for the entire bucket or mug to fill will be a different and interesting way to teach them patience.

8. The Silent Game

Silence is golden, and it is an extremely important part of patience. Start the timer and ask the kids to sit still and be silent for as long as possible. Whoever does it for the longest time is the winner.

The silent game

The best way to understand what the most effective way of teaching your child how to be patient is by pinpointing what triggers their impatience in the first place. Does your child find it difficult to take turns? Does your little one become frustrated while practicing something new? Does your child get frustrated by puzzles? Knowing what triggers your child is key to helping them learn to be patient and keep a level head in any situation. For example, if your child gets frustrated while trying something new, you can patiently show them how it is done, giving you the additional benefits of bonding with your child.

Avoid nagging, sarcasm and do not rush your children when they are trying something new as it will only contribute to them growing more impatient.


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