Patience is something many of us wish we had more of, especially when dealing with our children. When they ignore us or ask us the same thing we’ve already answered no to for the umpteenth time, it’s so easy to yell in response. We are all busy and have way too many things to do. What can we do about this?
According to Kris McPhail a curriculum specialist for Ebenezer Child Care Centers with locations on Milwaukee’s southside and in downtown Milwaukee, Oak Creek, and West Allis/Wauwatosa, “We’re all human and have limits on how much we can tolerate. The key is to keep your emotions at bay so you can respond calmly and appropriately to your children.”
Here are some tips to help parents work on improving their patience.
Identify Your Triggers
McPhail says you should think about what upsets you the most. Try to clarify when you are most likely to lose patience, is it when you are tired, hungry, or is it certain types of interactions, like power struggles? Once you understand your triggers, you can begin to work with them.
Observe How You Respond
Does your heart rate increase or your palms get sweaty? Be aware of what happens to your body when your children trip your triggers. Being aware of these lets you know you are being triggered, and about to lose patience, so you can change your reactions.
Develop a Plan
McPhail recommends that you develop a game plan of strategies to use before your children set off your triggers.
“Maybe you need to leave work a little early, drive slowly and give yourself some transition time before you pick up your children or go home. When situations you can’t plan for occur, walk away from a power struggle, or step back and count to ten,” says McPhail. “After things have calmed down, review the situation. Sit down with your child and talk about their choices. Apologize to your child if you lost your cool.”
Ask for Help
If you feel like you just can’t continue, or are at the end of the rope, McPhail says you shouldn’t be afraid to ask another family member to step in for you. This could prevent you from saying something too harsh, which could damage your relationship with your child or affect their self-esteem.
Have Appropriate Expectations of Your Children
McPhail reminds us to remember where your children are developmentally. For example: five-year-olds are not built to sit for long periods of time, and toddlers are trying to gain their independence. You will be less likely to be disappointed with your children if your expectations are realistic.
Be an Active Listener
When talking with your child, try to draw him out and find out how he genuinely feels. Avoid being overly judgmental. McPhail recommends that you try saying something like, “Please help me understand why you are so upset.”
Take Time for Self-Care
If you are running on empty, you are going to get easily frustrated. Take some time to think about what fills you up. What do you enjoy doing, outside of your home? Go to a movie or for a walk outside on a sunny day. Find some time to put your feet up and relax. This recharges your batteries, and shows your children that it important to care for yourself.
Ebenezer Child Care Centers is a not-for-profit, locally based agency committed to providing early childhood programs from the heart. The agency prides itself on being different from other child care providers in that it offers a home-like atmosphere; individualized, nurturing care; and a structured curriculum that is virtues-based for every child’s developmental stage. Every Ebenezer Child Care Center focuses on all aspects of a child’s development: cognitive, physical, emotional, and social. In addition to providing quality care, the agency also offers other educational programming all aimed at helping parents.
The agency has locations in on Milwaukee’s southside and in downtown Milwaukee, Oak Creek, and West Allis/Wauwatosa. The agency’s main office is located at 1496 South 29th Street, Milwaukee. For more information, please call 414-643-5070.