Is the ability to delay gratification one of the most important skills we can give our kids?
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Waiting has become a major part of our lives over the past year and all of us can hardly wait until our lives return to normal. Even in normal times, waiting is part of everyday life. Is learning patience something that will benefit our kids immensely as they travel the winding, and often traffic-jammed road of life? If they don’t, will their road end up being far rougher?
You’ve probably noticed that kids are not born with this skill, and many are not shy about demonstrating their lack of appreciation for anything that delays the immediate delivery of their desires. While this is normal for young children, there is a danger in how it can train us to jump through hoops trying to keep them calm. The faster we give them what they want, the less whining, begging, hassling, and chaos we experience in the short term.
In the short term, all might seem well if we respond quickly to their impatience. However, brave parents understand they can pay now or pay bigger. As such, they embrace the short-term commotion, wisely allowing their kids to experience the healthy struggle of waiting. These parents will provide some brief suggestions to their kids, such as:
   “Some kids decide to concentrate about something they really like. Sometimes that makes the time go faster.”
   “Some kids decide to repeat to themselves, ‘I can do this. I can do this. I’m big. I can do this.’”
   “Some kids decide to bring a book to read.”
Wise parents also demonstrate this skill in front of their kids. Of course, this can be the most challenging part for many of us. While in traffic or while waiting in a line at the store, they allow their kids to hear their thoughts. Thinking out loud, they might say:
   “Waiting is hard. Sometimes it’s not very fun. But…it’s such good practice. Good things come to those who wait!”
Finally, Love and Logic parents will demonstrate that good things come to those who wait when their young ones do a good job of waiting. While we don’t believe in going overboard with rewards, it is fun and effective to occasionally provide a small one.
   “I noticed that you waited the entire time I was on the phone without interrupting. What do you think about going for ice cream?”
Is the ability to delay gratification one of the most important skills we can give our kids? Absolutely! It is a skill that will benefit them in the long run when they eventually face the challenges of adulthood.
Thanks for reading! If this is a benefit, forward it to a friend. Our goal is to help as many families as possible.
Dr. Charles Fay

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