3 Ways to Teach Kids to Be Patient

I’ll admit that I am not the poster parent for patience.  And while we’re at it…our world isn’t advertising patience to our kids either.  In fact, it’s the exact opposite. Everything is instant.  Hello—snap chat, instant messaging, and Amazon 2-day shipping.  I mean, right?  If I have to wait more than 2 days for something to be shipped to me, I’m all like….WHAT???

Well, patience may not be expected in our world all the time, but it sure should be expected in our homes and from our kids and while we’re at it…from ourselves.

Character Tool (1)

The Character Tool in our Teamwork Parenting Approach teaches us to focus our parenting and our expectations in our family on character traits and patience is a big one! But how do we teach patience?  Especially when we may not be a patient parent?

Well, it takes teamwork.  I believe that everything in our homes takes teamwork.  Here are 3 ways to work as a family to encourage more patience…

1.  Define patience:  When we say “Wait” or “Be patient” to our kids, it’s like they hear us saying: “You’re never going to EVER get what you’re asking for.”  And that’s not fun for kids to hear.  So we just simply need to train them on what “Wait” or “Be patient” actually means.  Yes, at times it may mean that they may never EVER get something they’ve asked for–especially if they ask to play with a knife or eat 8 suckers.  But in general, it means that they will get what they’re asking for but that they are simply being asked to wait.

2.  Present patience as a skill:  Once they understand the concept of waiting, then, we can really pump it up as something they get to practice and get better at. “You’re 4 now.  When mommy/daddy asks you to wait, you can practice being so patient now that you’re older.”  When it’s a skill that they can always improve on, then it’s more empowering for them to “get better at it.”  It turns patience from something you’re just asking them to do into something that they can do for themselves and be good at it.

3.  Give examples of patient behaviors:  Take time to introduce moments in life when they will use the skill of patience–restaurants, doctor’s offices, God’s timing, etc.  Don’t give examples while they are in a fit because you’ve said “no” or asked them to wait because they won’t hear you. But wait for calm moments throughout your day and find opportunities in your daily life to point out patience—you can say: “Look at the spider patiently waiting on his web for a meal.” Or–“It’s so frustrating when we have to wait for a train, but it’s a good thing we can be patient.” And the best part is to point out moments when your kids do choose to show patience so they can recognize patient behaviors in themselves.

Then, as a team, you can make a list of things they can do when they are asked to wait so they can look at being patient as an opportunity to do something else with their time.

Working with your kids to encourage patience in waiting will help your whole family be more patient in waiting too.  Because dang, I’ve learned to be more patient simply because I know my kids are watching and learning…and so are yours.  😉

Lord, we live in an impatient, high-speed, fast-expectations world.  But through You, we can be still.  We can be patient.  We can be kind.  And that’s the kind of love we want in our homes. 

Here’s to building better families–

Christine

What Kind of Parent Are You?

Take a minute to think of one of your favorite teachers from school…
What were his/her qualities?  What did you like about him/her?

Make a list.

  • Made learning fun
  • Had high but well-communicated expectations with room to grow
  • Always encouraged us to do our best
  • Saw the good in us
  • Created an atmosphere of teamwork and respect
  • Silly and downright goofy sometimes
  • Truly loved their job
  • Truly cared about us

How did students react to or treat this teacher?

  • With respect
  • With love
  • They wanted to please him/her

Now think of the worst teacher you had in school…
What were his/her qualities?  What didn’t you like about him/her?

Make a list.

  • Made learning a chore
  • had ridiculous unattainable expectations with no room for error
  • always had a discouraging word to say
  • saw the worst in all of us
  • created an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty
  • grumpy and yelled a lot
  • hated his/her job
  • didn’t seem to care about me at all

How did students react to or treat this teacher?

  • with fear
  • with lying and disrespect
  • They wanted to either get revenge or just stay as far away from him/her as possible

Or what about this teacher?

  • didn’t have many rules
  • chaotic classroom environment
  • was really “nice” but not very effective
  • not much learning got done
  • seemed frazzled at times but never did anything to solve problems

How did students react to or treat this teacher?

  • with disrespect and manipulation
  • Kids felt insecure
  • They didn’t listen and obey

The teacher can make all the difference.  

A friend of mine shared with me that last year, her daughter did awesome in Spanish class because she had an awesome teacher.  This year, however, she isn’t doing well in Spanish.  Why?  She has a different teacher who makes learning impossible and is “hard to be around.” Last year…As and Bs…this year…not so much.

The teacher can make all the difference.

So my question to you is:  What kind of teacher are you?

Yes, I know our kids push our buttons, roll their eyes, talk back, throw fits, scream, yell, and sometimes appear to TRY to drive us crazy, but we have a choice in how we react.

In our homes, we are a team. We can choose to have high expectations with love and grace. We can choose to be learning-focused with a balance of rules and respect. We can choose to invite our kids in to solve problems with the idea of teamwork and having fun.

“How can we stop throwing toys so you and I can have more time to play with them together?”

We have the choice to view our role as parent as that of a teacher…a “good” teacher–creating an atmosphere where kids learn, laugh, and love.

And that’s what the Teamwork Parenting Approach is all about!

I truly believe that the style of teacher that we choose to be can make a difference in an “A student” or an “F student”.

And I’m not talking about grades.

Lord, open our eyes to the ways You want us to grow and change as a parent. Give us wisdom to parent our kids like the Teacher that You are to us–with high expectations but full of patience, grace, and abounding love and joy.  

Here’s to building better families–

Christine

We Use Teamwork Words

Our words matter.  Whether we want to admit it or not, the power of our own words matters in our homes.  Our kids are listening.  The scary part is just how closely that they are listening.

Just to give you an idea…the other day, my oldest son was working on his Math Stars homework.  I heard him say to my husband:  “Daddy, I don’t like to do this work.  It’s like: ‘Great! You’re smart in math…let me give you more work to do!” 

I just chuckled in the other room because I had said that exact thing…word for word…about his Math Stars homework the other day.  And my son was listening.  I only said it once and yet he could quote me WORD FOR WORD!  And he said these words as if they were his own.  I could share more stories like this…could you?

That’s exactly what happens.  Our words become their words. 

Modeling Tool

The Modeling Tool is so important in our parenting. We must model the kind and respectful words we want our kids to use. When we talk to our spouse…when we talk to our friends…when we interact with strangers…when we make comments, observations, and pretty much say anything about anything, they are listening…and learning!

In our home, we focus a lot on being a team.  That’s why I created the Teamwork Parenting Approach. We want our kids (and every kid) to have a sense of belonging in family.  We want them to value unity and togetherness.  And we are well aware that this starts with our words!

Any change in our homes that we desire to make must start with our words.  First and foremost, words of prayer.  That’s how true change will happen.  Then, we must be mindful of the words we speak on a daily basis.  If we want our kids to speak life, our words need to speak life.  If we want our kids to speak kindness, love, respect, compassion, joy, and peace, our words need to do the same.

We want more teamwork in our home, so we model Teamwork Words.    Teamwork words are always welcome in the Leeb home.  And through the Modeling Tool, we intentionally use them.  And our kids are learning to use them too.  That’s just how it works.

And that’s just the power of our words.  My words matters.  Your words matter.  And kids are listening.

Lord, death and life are in the power of our tongues. (Proverbs 18:21)  Let us speak words of life.  Set a guard over our mouths, Lord; keep watch over the door of our lips. (Psalm 141:3)  Give us wisdom to use words that reflect You to our children. 

Here’s to building better families together–
Christine

The 5 P’s for Family Meetings

“That’s it!  Family Meeting RIGHT NOW!”  This is how our Family Meetings used to come about.  They were mainly a we-can’t-take-this-anymore type of meeting where we basically ripped them a new one.  Our Family Meetings used to be more out of desperation for control in the chaos than anything else.  Now they are more intentional.

Over the past few years, as we have developed the Teamwork Parenting Approach, we have been implementing The Family Meeting Tool by having regularly scheduled Family Meetings.  Every Monday night after dinner, bath, and pajamas, we gather around the kitchen table for a little snack and our weekly team meeting.

They have been so helpful and powerful–especially with the 4 P’s we focus on each time to help our team…our family…be stronger…

  1. PRAISE:  It’s so important for any strong team to focus on what they’re doing well.  This is simply a time to focus on the positive things about our family.  We all take turns sharing what we’ve enjoyed doing together, what we feel has been going smoothly, or any ways we have improved as a family over the past week.
  2. PLAN:  Strong teams take time to plan ahead.  Families who know what’s coming up in their week can work better to get the things done that need to get done.  We share any events, birthdays, special occasions, school outings, or activities. We also make a point to have one special family time on the calendar. I truly believe that the key to a strong family is spending time together.  Oh and we also share with our kids when we have a date night coming up too.  It’s so important for our kids to know that we invest in our marriage and make it a priority.
  3. PRACTICE:  All great teams need practice.  Our families need practice too. I keep a Family Meeting Agenda sheet on our refrigerator so that any family member can jot things down that our family needs to practice.  Some recent items on our agenda? Respecting the “No”, Things I Can and Can’t Control, Listening and Obeying, What To Do and NOT Do While We Are on the Phone, What To Do Instead of Losing Your Cool, etc.  It’s been incredibly helpful to give our kids these tools in advance during calm times instead of feeling out of control and resorting to anger and yelling during the crazy times.  It’s really about being more proactive instead of reactive.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been able to keep my cool and say: “Remember what we practiced at our Family Meeting. How can you Respect her ‘No’?”  And then they remember that they have the tools to Respect her ‘No’ by saying “Ok, I’m disappointed you’re not going to play.  If you change your mind, I will be in the basement playing something else” because we’ve practiced it together in advance!  How awesome is that?  Giving kids the tools they will need to resolve conflict, stand up for themselves, solve problems, and respect others will help them in our family teams, but will also help them in life!
  4. PRAY:  A family who prays together…stays together. I love it when my team…my family…holds hands around the table and prays over our week.  We take time to pray over the skills we practiced, over any requests the kids have, and we always pray that the Leeb family would be God’s love and light in this world.
  5. PLAY: I also believe strongly that a family who PLAYS together…stays together. After each family meeting, we play a game together. It’s a great way to end our meeting–laughing and having fun together.

After our meeting is over, we always huddle together, put our hands in the middle and say: “Go Leebs!”  Then we do a big team hug.

Our meetings aren’t perfect.  Sometimes we’ve had to end them early and send the kids to bed and try again the next night, but we keep going.  We keep meeting.  We keep gathering together as a team each and every week.

If you’d like to get started on your own Family Meetings, here are a few quick tips:

  • Let your kids know that these meetings are a chance to make your family a better and stronger team.
  • Start small–especially while your kids are small. You can start with just 3 P’s–Praise, Pray, and Play and build from there.
  • Assure your older kids that they will have a chance to share what concerns they have too.
  • Set up clear and firm expectations and consequences for behavior at the meetings in advance.
  • Keep the meeting on the same day and time each week if possible.
  • Keep it short, light-hearted, and as encouraging as possible.
  • Always have a snack.  LOL!

Lord, Your word reminds us that where two or more are gathered together in Your name, You are with them. (Matthew 18:20) Provide the opportunity for our families to gather in Your name and unite, talk, share, laugh, learn, and grow to be all that You created them to be.

Here’s to building better families together–

Christine