How to Have More Patience with Your Kids
Patience is hardly a trait people are born with, so when parents are pressed to care for themselves and their children, it should come as no surprise that patience can wear thin. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to increase your patience, decrease your stress, and better enjoy your parental role and relationship with your kids.
- Learn to self-soothe. When your patience is being challenged, put yourself in a mental timeout. Taking a deep breath in through your nose and blowing it out through your mouth, visualizing a calming and relaxing place, practicing positive self-talk, and turning on classical music can offer an almost instantaneous calming effect, allowing you to work through the situation at hand.
- Establish you time. If you don’t set aside time for yourself to meet your own physical, spiritual, emotional, creative and intellectual needs, you’ll naturally be short tempered with others. Whether you pencil in an hour each day into your schedule to have time to yourself or set your alarm to wake up a half hour before anyone else to enjoy your coffee and start your morning in peace, meeting your needs will empower you to better be able to meet the needs of others.
- Set your priorities. Feeling like you’re being pulled in a bunch of different directions can be stressful. More stress translates into less patience. Each week, make a list of your priorities to help guide you through your week. When you have a set of priorities you’re less likely to feel frazzled and stressed.
- Consider your goals. During times when your patience is wearing thin, keep your eyes on the prize. Consider what lessons you’re trying to instill in your children and what type of relationship you wish to have with them. Letting your goals guide you during your interactions, you’ll find yourself slowing down and wanting to spend the time and energy in the moment you’re in.
- Take a break. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, you can watch your patience disappear before your very eyes. In these times, ask your spouse or a friend, or hire a babysitter to step in and care for the children. Even a short window of time can help you regroup and refocus and when you do, your patience will return.
- Meet your children’s needs. Children who are well-fed and well-rested behave better than those who are not. Better behaved children are less likely to test your patience, so work towards meeting their daily needs to help them from pushing the limits of your patience.
- Have realistic expectations. Consider the ages and stages of your children and your own abilities and give yourself a break. When you’re aware of your children’s developmental abilities and your own strengths and weaknesses, you’re better able to manage your expectations. Realistic expectations can help you to better manage and extend your patience.
When all else fails, don’t give up. When you’re feeling short on patience or you didn’t extend as much as you would have liked, go easy on yourself and commit to trying again. When it comes down to it, the only way to increase patience is to practice it.