The scene could be a grocery store, in the car, at a restaurant or at home on a cold day. Your child is bored and wants something (food, to leave, etc.) and you tell them to wait. When they have a tantrum, parents often turn to electronics to appease their child.
While this seems like a great idea in the moment, it can be negative in the long term. Here is why:
When children are using a device they are missing out on:
- Learning how to entertain themselves
- Building focus skills
- Acquiring and increasing their communication skills
Next time you find yourself in this predicament, try these 4 ways to teach your child to learn patience while using items that are beneficial to their development!
1. Be Prepared
Have a box or bag filled with items such as books, coloring paper/pencils, and small toys that you know your child will enjoy.
2. Make “Waiting Cards”
an idea from Carrie Clark, SLP, that is simple but effective. Write questions on index cards to ask your child. For example, target animal sounds – “what does a cow say?”, body parts –“show me your nose”, and following directions – “clap your hands.” For older kids make more difficult “Waiting Cards,” including two step directions, pretend skills – “pretend to brush your teeth”, rhyming words, what’s different pictures, etc.
3. Make up a story
Kids love using their imagination, and you can build story telling skills and enhance creativity by making up a story about things in your environment.
4. Play a version of hide-and-seek
This is particularly useful at a restaurant. You can hide small items found on the table and have your child find them. Provide clues that work on concepts such as under, behind, in front, or beside (ex: “look under the cup”). You can work on taking turns and having the child hide items as well.