We all want to be more patient moms. Patience is a virtue, right? Do you know why? Because it’s HARD, especially when you have kids! It is possible to re-train yourself to be more patient with your children, and while it’s hard work, it is worth it. You will find that as you respond more patiently to your children, the instances of them testing your patience will decrease. Here are some simple steps to get started.
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How to Become a More Patient Mom
- Start a no-yell jar. As a parent, you always hear about the benefits of positive reinforcement. If a sticker chart will help your little one act appropriately, why can’t the same concept work for you? I am a yeller, and I recently started a “no-yell” jar. Each day that I don’t yell, I add a dollar to the jar. My plan is to treat myself to a pedicure once I have 45 days of not yelling. Full disclosure – it’s taking awhile. My 4-year-old is sassy!
- Meet your own needs first. We know that when our kids are tired or hungry, they cannot perform their best at home or at school. Just because you’re older doesn’t mean the same isn’t true for you! If you’re irritable, take stock. Are you hungry? Have you had enough water today? If you meet your own physiological needs, you will find that you are able to remain more patient when you’re being tested.
- Put yourself in your kids’ shoes. My family and friends often hear me say that being a kid is hard. They are learning all kinds of new things, they have big emotions that they don’t quite know how to manage, and they are trying to understand their place in the world. You might not feel as though it’s the end of the world that the orange crayon broke, but for your little one, that really is a big deal! Try to be empathetic to what your child is going through, and it will help you stay calm in the midst of a fit.
- Give time warnings. I had an epiphany about a year ago when my son wouldn’t stop playing and come to dinner. If I expect him to be patient when I tell him he needs to wait for me to finish what I’m working on before I help him with something, why do I expect him to drop what he’s doing when I want him to do so? Talk about double-standards! I’ve made a conscious effort since that time to give my kids time warnings (“Five more minutes until dinner”) so they know what to expect. It makes a significant difference to them minding me!
- Help identify feelings. You already know this, but it bears mentioning – your kids don’t want to upset you. As I said earlier, your child has big feelings, and it’s up to you to teach him how to deal with them. When your son yells about the orange crayon breaking, ask him how he feels. When he tells you he’s mad or disappointed or angry, talk with him about how he can manage those feelings constructively.
- Whisper. When you feel yourself getting agitated by your kids’ behavior, try whispering what you want to say to them. Their natural reaction will be to quiet down so they can hear what you’re saying. They may even respond to you in a whisper!
After just one day of responding patiently to your children, you will feel like a rock star mom! You’ll be less stressed and probably decrease some of the mom guilt that most of us live with each day. You can do it!