* Gorgeous cover image from Poppy and Scout.
Most mornings go something like this.
5.30am. Ava ‘Morning mummy, the suns up and I’m ready for my breakfast. Can I get dressed? Will you do my hair?’.
All before I’ve even opened my eyes. To say we have been struggling with patience in our house recently is a bit of an understatement. The funny thing is that trying to teach my oldest daughter patience is seriously testing mine.
I’d been finding ways to help Ava learn to be a bit more patient. Counting to ten in Greek while I’m on the phone (we’re learning colours too – but that’s the extent of my Greek!), or doing a puzzle while I’m cooking dinner, but it’s still been a challenge. My wonderful mum found this fantastic article about the French approach to teaching kids patience, and I’m loving it. And not just because it’s French! (Although I’m not so sure about the burping bit?).
This is an excerpt taken from The Huffington Post:
KEYS TO PATIENCE
1. Give Kids Lots of Chances to Practice Waiting
The secret to patience isn’t expecting a child to be a stoic who freezes and silently waits. Scientists have found that kids become good at waiting once they learn how to distract themselves — by inventing a little song or burping at themselves in the mirror, for instance. This makes the waiting bearable. French parents have discovered this too. They know that they don’t even have to teach a child how to distract himself. If they simply say “wait” a lot (attend in French) and make a child practice waiting on a daily basis, she’ll figure out how to distract herself. But if they drop everything the instant she complains that she’s bored, or if they get off the phone when she interrupts, the child isn’t going to get good at waiting. She’s going to get good at whining.
2. Treat Kids as if They Can Control Themselves
Play to the top of a child’s intelligence. Expect her not to grab things, and to be able to put all her Legos back in their box. Get down on the floor and gently tell a toddler who’s pulling books off the shelf that she should stop, and show her how to put them back. When she tosses grapes on the floor, show her how to keep them on her plate. Do this patiently and face-to-face. A child needs to learn the limits, but she also needs love. “It takes both love and frustration for the child to construct himself,” one expert explains. If you give the child just love without limits, she’ll soon become a little tyrant (the French call this an enfant roi — a child king).
3. Slow Down Your Response Times
Embrace a French pace of life. When you’re busy scrambling eggs and your daughter asks you to inspect her tower of toilet paper rolls, explain nicely that you’ll be there in a few minutes. At dinner, don’t leap up to grab a napkin the moment she demands it (or, better yet, put the napkins on a low shelf so she can get one herself). When you’re busy, politely point out to your child what you’re doing, and ask her to take it in. This doesn’t just make life calmer. It’s also what the French call an obligatory passage for the child, when she learns that she’s not the center of the universe. Parents believe that a child who doesn’t realize this — and who feels she’s entitled to anything she wants — won’t see any reason to grow up. The French have reasonable expectations. They wouldn’t ask a young child to sit through Shakespeare (or Molière). They just want her to be able to wait a few seconds, or a few minutes. Slowing things down even this little bit will make her better at coping with boredom, and take the panicky edge off things. Patience is a muscle. The more a child plays on her own, the better she gets at it.
You can purchase Bringing Up Bébé by Pamela Druckerman here.
You might also like to read ‘Let Them Eat Cake‘ by Pamela Druckerman.
How do you teach your kids patience?
What’s your approach to parenting?0