Ever wonder why the children in your care struggle to sit still, can never wait their turn and interrupt constantly? It’s not easy to be patient. It’s even harder to be patient if you don’t understand or have never been taught the concept of patience.
“Patience can help develop the ability to think through and resolve problems; it can counteract impulsivity and acting out behaviors,” says Freedson. “The value of patience lies in its ability to lead to inner calm and emotional strength of character.”
Teach By Example
“Teaching patience by example helps children learn resilience, self-containment, and the ability to self-soothe,” says Freedson. “These are qualities needed for emotional maturity.”
As a nanny, the children in your care are constantly watching your every move. They see your excitement, creativity and even your frustration at times. You are the role model of patience. If you want the children to wait, ensure that you are patiently waiting yourself. Refrain from snapping impatiently at the children and others to model patient behavior on a regular basis.
When the children see that you can peacefully wait for something, they, too, will learn to do the same.
Incorporate Lessons on Patience
Learning doesn’t always have to happen in the classroom. Teach the children real-life lessons on patience through creative endeavors during routine activities. Meal time happens at least three times a day, providing you with three very important opportunities to teach patience. Dr. Fran Walfish, California-based psychotherapist and author of “The Self-Aware Parent: Resolving Conflict and Building a Better Bond With Your Child,” suggests demonstrating how patience can enhance the bond you have with others.
“Kids, and many adults, get excited about their own ideas and chime in or interrupt while someone else is speaking,” she says. “The family dinner table is always a great place to practice taking turns talking and listening.”
Take the opportunity to praise patience while modeling the behavior, suggests Walfish. “This is a chance for kids to grow in front of your very eyes,” she says. “Praise them for every incremental step toward respectful listening behavior.”
Listening is a difficult behavior to master, especially for young children. Further explore the idea of patience by role-playing with the children. When a child is impatient and frustrated, embark on a role-playing game to help them work through emotions. If she wants to watch a particular television show, but it does not begin for a few hours, talk about how the disappointment makes her feel. Put yourself in her shoes by taking on the role of the child and ask her to take on the role of the nanny. When the child has to put herself in the role of someone else, it helps to build perspective and understanding, which ultimately can lead to patience.
Another lesson that may help children understand the value of patience involves distinguishing between needs and wants. Often times, children have difficulty understanding that others will not always cater to their every wish and want. Ask the children to make a list of daily wants or wishes and another list of daily needs that will enable them to survive.
Compare the lists and discuss how food, water and air are necessities, yet video game time and outdoor activities are wants. When a child can prioritize and distinguish between necessities and wants, it is often easier to patiently wait for a want.
Children often lose patience when they are frustrated or feel as if others are not listening or supporting them. When children participate in group activities and shared play, they want to be heard and feel as if they are an active member of the group. Encourage teamwork to teach patience with daily activities.
Expose the child to play groups that emphasize constructing a project together – one that is dependent on every member of the team. Play games that require turn taking, such as building a tower with blocks contributed by everyone involved.
Meditation or relaxation techniques and silent play time can also show children how to be patient.
Jennifer Kogan, a psychotherapist in Washington, D.C., recommends practicing patience as a family. “Go to a yoga or meditation class together and engage in activities that promote teamwork as a family,” she recommends. “Emphasize the process over the end result.”← Don’t Miss Out on the Right Nanny | Year-End Bonuses for Nannies →