Patience is a skill that brings lifelong benefits. A patient person will have advantages in many situations, so it’s important to instill at a young age! Teaching patience to preschoolers may seem overwhelming at first, but with the right strategies, it’s a breeze.
Why Is Teaching Patience to Preschoolers Important?
Teaching patience to preschoolers is an important part of their learning to become a harmonious member of society.
Think of patience as the ability to tolerate delays or waiting without becoming upset. This is just as essential a skill for preschoolers as it is for adults.
How many tantrums come around because young children are asked to delay gratification in some form or another? As a parent, the chance of getting frustrated with your children is significantly smaller when they practice patience.
Teaching patience to preschoolers gives them a skill they will use for the rest of their lives. An impatient person will struggle at school, in their personal lives, and even in their professional lives later.
Patient children have the tools to excel in the classroom and the eventual workplace. A child who knows how to be patient contributes to a calmer classroom environment.
Plus, they’re better prepared for the jump to kindergarten!
Easy Tips for Effectively Teaching Patience to Preschoolers
Teaching patience to preschoolers may not seem like the easiest task at first. It may even seem impossible.
But having the right strategies will help you do this without stress!
The more your students learn from you, the better behaved they will be going forward.
Create a Positive Learning Environment
When you are teaching patience to preschoolers, focus on tiny elements to build a positive learning environment for the best results.
Those tiny elements can start as creating tiny habits around patience. Practicing those habits every day will cement them into lifelong coping skills.
One of the best ways to teach patience is to model it. You must be patient yourself!
Take advantage of opportunities to exemplify patience in the classroom. This will make your classroom a positive learning environment. When learning is a positive experience, your students will feel heard, acknowledged, and safe.
Here are some specific ways you can make teaching patience to preschoolers a positive experience.
Get on Their Level
Interact directly with the children you’re teaching. Kneel down and make eye contact.
Let your students know that you get it! You know what they’re learning is tough, but you also know that they can do this.
Make It Fun
Kids love to have fun! You can use this to your advantage when you’re teaching preschoolers patience.
Entice them with activities they enjoy. You can even include games and toys to help the lessons stick.
Preschoolers desire agency just like adults do.
By giving them options, you’re acknowledging their need to feel like they have some control. Choosing between two activities will keep them more engaged in what they’re doing.
When children are struggling with impatience, encourage them to participate in activities.
For example, if they’re impatient while waiting for a snack, you could let them pass out napkins. They stay busy and engaged instead of stressing about the wait!
Model Patience In The Classroom Whenever Possible (& Acknowledge It!)
When you’re teaching patience, you have to model patience! Seek opportunities to discuss, acknowledge, and show patience to your students.
When you’re teaching patience to preschoolers, you’ll have to practice patience plenty yourself. Use it as a teachable moment.
If you’re being patient, draw your students’ attention to it. Tell them how you are coping with the situation. They’re watching and learning from you!
Acknowledging student success is a critical part of making learning stick.
When children demonstrate patience in everyday encounters, praise them! When they’re struggling, be compassionate. Waiting isn’t fun for anyone, let alone toddlers!
If you’re not sure where to start, here are a few creative ways to model patience in the classroom.
Practice Gratitude In The Classroom
Add gratitude practices to your daily activity list.
Let every student share something they’re grateful for. This could be something like a new toy, a sunny day, or a friend.
Teach your preschoolers to especially focus on gratitude when they are waiting for something.
Practice Waiting Behaviors
The way we behave when we’re waiting for something matters. It sends a message.
Have your students practice waiting behaviors regularly!
Maybe they smile, maybe they count. Or maybe they need a unique strategy. This is where you can creatively help students work through challenges!
Teaching patience to preschoolers has tremendous benefits for both the students and their teacher! Socializing will be so much smoother.
Plus, children who understand how to practice patience are a joy to teach. They are more responsive and less prone to outbursts.
With these strategies, and a little patience yourself, teaching patience to preschoolers is easy!
Over the years as I have worked with parents, I often hear the comment “they will listen to you more than me”- meaning, when teaching manners, children listen to a third party. For some reason this is the way of the world.
Finding moments or dedicated time to teach manners in your classroom is actually very easy. Most likely you are using good social skills all day every day in the classroom (virtual or in-person).
Manners and Life Skills such as:
Eye contact: When using eye contact, point out what you are doing. As students use good eye contact, let them know you noticed.
Respect: Point out respectful behaviors as you see certain actions (helping others, expressing gratitude, holding the door, saying “good morning”)
Conversation skills: We have multiple conversations a day. Recognize students when they engage with each other. Conversation skills are becoming a lost art. This skill is the cornerstone of building friendships.
There has been a focus at the school level in many states to focus on the whole child.
Teaching manners in the preschool classroom: During the preschool years, manners are a critical element of a child’s education. This is a time of discovery for the preschooler. Teaching manners in the classroom and at home needs to be routine. Preschoolers pick up on a teacher or parent that is polite and at ease in life. Keep reading as this article is about teaching manners in a fun and creative way for both teachers and parents.
Empathy: We have the ability to feel what other’s are feeling. This must be taught with intention in the preschool classroom. When the situation arises in your classroom, offer praise when someone shares or understands with another student’s feelings are hurt. The ability to empathize is the foundation for respect and self-respect.
Please, Thank You and Excuse Me: These magical words are the basis of good behavior and communication skills. In your classroom, use these words often and when a child uses them, praise the child. The preschool years are the perfect time to start with basic conversation skills. Teaching when to have a conversation and how to ask questions is important.
If they absolutely must interrupt, show them how to say “excuse me”. Tell them how it makes others feel when they interrupt.
Meet and Greet: Start the day with “good morning”. Many schools around the world, start with a handshake. This is a big part of our culture in the US. It is how we greet people. A handshake shows leadership and confidence. Teach this. Start while they are young.
Basic Table Manners: Wow, is this one is important! The basics: chew with your mouth closed, do not talk with food in your mouth and place your napkin in your lap. Serve food that requires a fork. Teach them how to hold a fork correctly.
Using Manners in Public Places: Expand a child’s horizons. Take them to museums, out to the park and to parties. Teach them to use their “indoor voice”, not to complain or whine, and to follow the group while on a school activity.
Party Manners: Being social is fun and so important at this age. In your classroom, have parties and teach them many of the life skills mentioned above. You can teach greetings, how to share, how to have a conversation and basic grooming skills.
We are a full service company offering lesson plans for preschools to teach manners and social skills. Our programs are taught around the world in the preschool classroom. As an early childhood educator, you understand how important it is to teach your students how to behave appropriately in different social situations. Any child, no matter how young, is capable of learning basic etiquette and social skills, such as greetings, introductions, table manners, saying please and thank you, listening when others are talking, and showing respect to others. The Manners To Go™ Preschool curriculum makes it fun and easy for you to teach these skills to your students and prepare them for success in elementary school.