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The Importance of Being Patient!

August 26, 2009
Patience is a virtue, so I’ve been told.  It’s one thing to lose your cool with another adult but when your working with children, your own or others, it’s really important to hold on to your patience at all costs. If you feel at the edge, excuse yourself from your child; saying “I’ll be right back”. Then stop what you are doing, take a deep breath and walk around the house or just into the next room and clear your head.  Your child is not trying (probably if you are working on something they don’t understand) lose your patience. Walk back to your child ready to try again. Start with listening to them.  Listen to what they are unsure of.  They can’t tell you what they don’t know yet – you have to be the detective and help them sort it out.  But first you have to listen and observe.

It’s especially important to have patience with your children when:
  • they are learning something new, they may be just as frustrated as you are!
  • your child is excited to show you something as you come in the door at night
  • when your child doesn’t understand something, perhaps repeating the instruction in another way or showing them might help them more than just repeating it the same way.
Patience is as simple as taking a minute to observe your child as they are working at tying their shoe instead of just doing it for them.  Patience is when you wait for your child to catch up because they are watching a butterfly.  Patience is when they want to show you they can do it themselves (put on a coat or boots or pick out their clothes in the morning) it takes a little longer (yes, we know) but you are showing your child that you believe in them and you trust them to succeed at their endeavors.  Those are lessons that will fill your child’s soul and helps them when the world isn’t as forgiving in their efforts.  Patience is listening when you have a million and one things to do.  Stop and listen.  Live in the present moment.

Give children plenty of time to master skills that they will use for the rest of their lives.  Be aware that they will mirror you – if you are encouraging and full of confidence in them to succeed, they will be too!  What they are working on may seem simple to you, but they are just learning it and you have done it for years! So give them space and time to learn without demanding them to hurry up.  If they are really struggling with a skill, let their teacher know.  Perhaps she/he will have some suggestions of other things to try or send us an email.  We would be happy to give you some other ways to practice or introduce the skill that we have done with other students! Different approaches work for different students – it is definitely not one size fits all!

Be aware if your child gravitates towards one skill, like math, and support and encourage it. Children gravitate towards activities that they are good at it, it might just come easy and so they do more often.  The activities that children don’t feel they do as well or that they have to work at, children generally avoid doing.  So if your child is exceptional at one skill and not at another, they may have to spend a little more time doing the skill that is their weakness to help make it a bit easier for them.  They may not have to work at the other skill but that’s alright.

Even as an adult, do you want to do the things that you stink at?  I think not.  Your child won’t want to do the things that they feel they aren’t good at either.  With patience, support and encouragement from you will mean a huge difference to your child’s becoming a life-long learner!

Smile and be sincere when you encourage your child. It takes time and effort but all of this learning takes time and before you know it they will be grown up and no longer needing your help. It will pass too quickly, they are young for a short time – enjoy the trip and keep your cool!
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