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Patience Pays: 10 Ways to Grow a Smarter, More Patient Child

Patience Pays: 10 Ways to Grow a Smarter, More Patient Child

posted by Karen Quinn, The Testing Mom - November 10th, 2016

The Marshmallow Test

10 Ways to Grow a Smarter, More Patient Child

In the 1960’s, Stanford Professor Walter Mischel offered 4-year-olds a choice.  They could have a marshmallow right away or if they waited while he stepped out for a few minutes, they could have two marshmallows when he returned.  High delayers resisted the treat for fifteen minutes, while low delayers waited only an average of three minutes.  Mischel followed these children for many years and discovered that high delayers had SAT scores that were on average 210 points higher than low delayers!  They were also better-adjusted and more dependable adults.

So how do you train up your child, so that they learn how to wait longer and well?

10 Ways to Grow a Smarter, More Patient Child

Here are some tips for helping your child work out her “patience muscle” and improve her odds of personal achievement.

1.  Don’t rush to help your child every time she asks.

Tell her, “I can’t do it now, but I will after I finish the dishes.”  Don’t get her hooked on immediate gratification.  Teach her to tolerate frustration.

2.  Suggest ways to distract herself while she waits.

“Why don’t you play with your Barbies until we can start making cookies.”

3.  Make waiting concrete.

Here’s how:connect how long she’ll have to wait with your completion of an activity (“when I finish making dinner”) or use a timer and tell her you’ll do what she asks when the bell rights.

4.  Making waiting worthwhile.

Follow through on whatever you promise so your child can see that if he waits, there’s a reward.

5.  Do projects that take time to pay off.

Planting flowers from seeds, baking a cake, and fishing all require waiting for the reward.

6.  Read chapter books!

As soon as your child is ready (age 4 or 5), read chapter books to him. This way, he’ll learn to wait for the next installment.

7.  Make a schedule.

In everything you do, make a schedule for TV time, snack time, playground time, and plans for the day. Schedules help kids learn to wait.

8.  Play games!

Find and play games that require your child to wait for his turn.

9.  Be a role model for self-control.

When you get frustrated, yelling, threatening, and spanking won’t teach your child to control his own emotions when he is upset.  Model the behavior that you want them to follow.

10.  Praise your child for his patience.

Children work for praise.  It’s the easiest reward you can give with the highest payoff.

All of these ideas are simple ways you can incorporate into your everyday family life.  

Begin to practice these 10 ways to grow a smarter, more patient child. Over time, you will reap the rewards–character traits that invest in your child’s successful future!


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