Being patient with kids – real kids in the real world – can be a huge challenge for even the calmest parent. Developing better patience skills can be one of the best ways to improve parenting skills. Here are some of our favorite real life ways to have patience in even the craziest situations.
Being Patient is Hard
You trip over a shoe in the middle of the hallway, you step on a matchbox car, and you see yet another shirt lying on the floor in their room. You try not to yell, because you are trying to be more patient with your kids.
Didn’t you already ask them to clean their room… twice? Yet it is still a mess? It can be easy to lose your temper with your kids when things like this happen. I get it. After all… I’m a mom, too.
Related: How to control losing temper with kids
WAYS TO HAVE PATIENCE WITH YOUR KIDS
Yelling, arguing, angry looks… all things that happen when we lose our patience.
It isn’t the way that I want my children to remember me, or the way that I want them to parent their own children one day.
You can always work on it!
CHANGE YOUR PERSPECTIVE TO HAVE PATIENCE
Treat your family like houseguests, and you will see them start to do the same for you.
- Would you yell at a houseguest for leaving their shoes out?
- Would you say, “HURRY UP!”, if you were running late?
Try treating your kids like houseguests, just for this week. If you get a drink or snack, offer one to your family, etc. This will keep the peace, and everyone will be more likely to get along. Soon, they will do the same for you!
Thoughtfulness leads to patience!
HOW TO HAVE PATIENCE: SITUATION ANALYSIS
Realize where the problem lies. The other day I was upset with my husband for something (I can’t even remember now), but at that same time, our 3 year old came over to me, in a very whiny voice, and said “I want oatmeal.” I snapped back at her, “When you can talk to me like a big girl, I will help you.”
It wasn’t what I said, but how I said it.
Her face said it all when her pouty lip came out, and her sad eyes filled with tears.
I wanted to cry with her.
I wasn’t upset with her, but she was the one that had to deal with my attitude.
HOW TO BE PATIENT WITH KIDS: SELF-CARE IS CRITICAL!
1. Sleep is Important for Improving Patience
Get enough rest. Just like a child that is crabby at night, if you aren’t getting enough sleep, you will be crabby, too.
Try getting 7 hours of sleep tonight, and see what a difference it makes. Maybe even aim for 8 hours! It’s hard to be patient with kids when you are overtired. It is incredibly hard to work on patience when you are over-tired.
We have all seen what not having enough rest does to a 2 year old. You are literally a grown up 2 year old with just a little better coping skills.
2. Hydration is a Key to Not Losing Your Patience
Drink more water and eat better. Yes, it is true. You are what you eat. If you don’t drink water, you aren’t going to be as happy.
I have seen it in my friends and family.
I know thinking about hydration as a direct link to increased patience with kids may seem like a stretch, but every single little step can get you closer to your goal of being more patient. Feeling better will help you do that.
3. Movement Helps You Become More Patient
Exercise. Seriously. Exercise releases endorphins. Endorphins make you happier.
Happy = patience!
Remember the example above of how a 2 year old gets really impatient when they don’t have enough sleep. Think about how a 2 year old behaves when they haven’t had enough movement or outdoor play…again, just like you!
Bonus patience points if you exercise outside in the fresh air!
HAVE PATIENCE TIME OUTS
Take a break.
After you lose your temper or are upset, it can take a full half of an hour to calm back down.
Have your whole family spend time reading or playing in their bedrooms for 30 minutes until everyone feels better again.
This also teaches them an important life skill of coping with being impatience.
Practice meditation and breathing exercises. Anger in general is poison to the body. Take care of yours by controlling your emotions.
HOW TO BE PATIENT—CHANGE THE BEHAVIOR (AND NOT JUST THEIRS!)
Try to see if your child is acting the way that YOU act.
When a problem arises, how does your child handle it?
If he is acting like you, see it for what it is and fix it. If you are not being the best you that you can be, do better.
When you feel your blood pressure raising, try talking in a whisper, instead of yelling. It works wonders!
HOW TO HAVE PATIENCE: STOP THE ARGUMENT
Don’t argue with your children.
If you are frustrated, they will become frustrated, which will lead to an unhelpful argument.
Be firm, but fair.
Make a rule, and stick to it, and there will be no arguing necessary because it won’t get them anywhere. Instead, try being empathetic towards them when they realize that they are not going to get what they want.
This even teaches them how to be patient with other kids!
HAVE PATIENCE TO BE A PATIENT ROLE MODEL
Remember that your kids are watching you.
Why is it that we are the more patient parent when we are out, yet we forget to more patient with our kids when we are home?
They are watching us 24/7, and they are the ones that will learn from us. Remember to be the BEST example of patience, and learn from it when you do lose your cool.
HOW TO BE MORE PATIENT: BE PROACTIVE!
The root of my impatient behavior is always the same: I am unprepared.
If I am unprepared when dinnertime rolls around, the kids will be cranky (because they are hungry) and I will end up losing my temper.
If I am unprepared before bed, with lunches packed for the next school day, we will have a hectic morning, kids will be late to school, and I will end up losing my temper.
Being prepared stops this.
HOW TO BE PATIENT WITH KIDS: TEACHING FORGIVENESS STARTS WITH YOU
Compliment each other.
I learned this years ago and it works!
Give out compliments. It may be hard at first, but everyone will be happier. Give them to your kids and your spouse. Have your family give them to each other.
Try it at dinner first – everyone gives out two to each family member. It makes a huge difference in everyone’s attitudes.
Teaching Forgiveness Starts With You…
Apologize when you are wrong.
I immediately apologized to my daughter when I blew up at her oatmeal request, when I was really just frustrated with my own situation. “I’m sorry. Mommy was wrong to talk that way to you. I was not upset with you, and I shouldn’t have done that. I apologize. Do you still want oatmeal? If you do, please ask me in a big girl voice and I will help you.”
She forgave me and ate her strawberry oatmeal happily.
When you teach humility, you also teach responsibility, and they will own up to their own mistakes over the years, because of your influence.
Give yourself grace and time to change. If you have been someone that loses their patience easily, give yourself time to break from this habit. Forgive yourself for whatever it is that you did that day (lost your temper, yelled, grounded the kids for a few minutes too long) and do better tomorrow.
We can’t all be perfect all of the time.
We will lose our patience at some point, but we can work on doing better.
And Remember, Each Day Is A New Start!
When we know better, we do better.
Remind yourself that you can always learn, grow, and improve as a parent. It’s okay to make mistakes, it’s all in how we come back from them. Try to calm down when you start to lose your patience, and open your eyes to look at the beautiful children in front of you, watching your every move.
Be the best example of a kind, patient person that you can be.
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What techniques do you use to control your patience at home? Let us know if the comments below…