Throughout life, patience is the virtue many people find most difficult to attain and practice. And in our fast food society, teaching this character quality to children can seem a daunting task.
Here are some ideas that I have come up with to help instill patience in children:
- Encourage your child to write old-fashioned, hand-written, snail-mailed letters rather than e-mails.
- Plant seeds; a backyard plot, a windowsill garden, or simply sow a few seeds in a clay pot. Tend to the seeds together and as you check their progress, discuss the principle in James 5:7.
- Rather than spending all of their money on frivolous purchases, help children choose a higher-priced item to save for. Encourage them to meet their money-saving goal.
- Incite your children to finish what they start, whether it is chores or fun projects.
- Playing board games is a wonderful way to grow in patience.
- Work a 1000-piece puzzle together.
- Teach your child not to interrupt. We practice this at home by setting up training situations. As I talk with one child, the younger child will come to me, desiring my attention. Unless it is an emergency, they must take hold of my hand and patiently wait for me to excuse myself from my current conversation to give them my full attention.
Here is a fun project that helps to build patience in children: An old-fashioned, homemade, tin-punch Christmas ornament.
- 1 lid from a frozen juice can
- 6” thin ribbon or yarn
- 6” raffia (optional)
- Felt (for backing)
- Liquid glue
- Scotch tape
- Block of wood (to hammer on)
- Pattern (download mine by clicking on the picture or use coloring book pictures or cookie cutters)
Trace around lid on the felt. Cut out felt circle and ornament pattern. Tape the pattern to the can lid.
Place the lid on the block of wood. Put the nail point on each pattern point, tapping a few times to make an indent (the nail doesn’t need to penetrate the metal).
Older children learn patience by helping their younger siblings.
After all holes have been tapped, discard the pattern. Thread the ribbon through the top hole and tie. Thread raffia (if using) and tie into a bow. Glue the felt circle onto the back of the ornament.
Hang on the tree or give to a loved one. This ornament makes a great gift!
What creative ways have you discovered to help your children learn patience?