How to be patient with children

Patience is a virtue, but it is not easy to develop.

It is linked to:

  • A mature, educated and humane personality.
  • Know how to listen, speak and be careful of each of the actions and decisions we make.
  • And to have a balanced mind to see things clearly and in the future.

It’s hard for all of us, but if you’re a mom, it’s definitely harder. How to be patient with children? Why do we lose it so often?

Patience with children

The act of being patient means to be perseverant in relation to something. In the case of raising our children, it is to be aware that it is a daily process, with many ups and downs.

Along with patience, other virtues such as peace, calm, tolerance and prudence are developed.

According to Alejandra Velasco, parenting expert, workshop facilitator and author of the book Ayuda, tengo hijos, for a person (especially a mother) to be patient with her children, it is essential that she has “fuel”, energy, that she is not at the limit in other life situations.

“How to be patient with children? To answer that question, I would first ask to that mother, ‘How do you feel?’ If you lose patience with your children, it is very likely that you are physically exhausted. If you had worked all day, and when you get home at night you still have to do homework with your children, logically, it would cost you much more work to be patient!”

“In these times women have acquired many more responsibilities. If you have little fuel, you are not sleeping well, you are full of activities… and now with the pandemic many moms are 24/7 with their children… How are you, mom? If you have problems with your partner, you lost your job, you have no money, or you depend economically on someone else, all of these burdens make you more desperate”, explains the expert.

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Be delightfully imperfect

For Velasco, the key to not losing patience is to be deliciously imperfect, that is, not trying to cover many activities and not wanting to control everything. We must do our best, but accept that we have limits.  

“It happens that we want to be the perfect mother, the perfect wife, the perfect friend, the perfect daughter. That search is exhausting and counterproductive. I kindly tell you, that if you want to be perfect, everything will go wrong”.

Before wanting to be an A+ woman, mother and wife, with A+ children, give yourself permission to be imperfect: “What would you think if you start being a B- and work little by little?  It is okay to want to improve, but if you demand too much of yourself, you submit your body to unnecessary stress and drag your family into that neurosis. After a while your neck hurts, you have an anxiety crisis. Better inhale peace, exhale stress”.

You can read: Why you should stop shouting to your kids when you tell them off?

Fill your fuel tank

“Before applying any strategy with your children, you must fill your “tank” with energy and tolerance. How do you fill it? Doing things for you. Many moms ask me, ‘How am I going to have time with four children?’ Well, create routines! From an early age, make your children responsible for themselves! Share responsibilities with your partner!”, explains the also author of the book, Por favor, no me griten, por las buenas sí hago caso (Please, don´t shout at me, I will listen).

Some tips that can help you to fill the tank and be deliciously imperfect are:

Create routines

It is essential for children and, believe it or not, they love and need routine, it tells them the way to go. If you schedule that they are going to do homework at a certain time, get them down to work at that time without excuse. If you agree that they would go to sleep at 9, start at 7:30 with the routine of having dinner, taking a bath, and finally put them to bed. “Stay on track”, says Ale Velasco.

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Make them accountable

Children have to assume their responsibilities.

“Be imperfect. Once I told a doctor, ‘My teenage son doesn’t tidy up his room!’ Well, close the door of the room and let him assume he is like that. We have this Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and if they don’t arrange the toilet paper the way we want, we get angry”. Just relax!

Your partner must cooperate

Carrying a load for just one person is not the same as sharing it between two. The responsibility of the children is of two; the chores of the house is responsibility of all those who live in it.

“Come to agreements. In my workshops I have a challenge called Fly where I ask the participants to first seek to be women and then mothers. When you’re happy as a woman, you’re going to reproduce it as a mom. If you are angry with your partner, you will transmit your frustrations. You have to set limits”.

Be imperfect

Many moms have trouble dealing with challenging children, but before that, the expert emphasizes, be imperfect.

“If they don’t want to sleep, turn off the light and leave him alone, that’s it! Get out of your room and he can poke his eyes if he is not sleepy, that’s his problem. If, for example, the drawing he is doing doesn’t turn out well or he doesn’t want to do the homework, leave him alone, it’s his homework, not yours. If he does not turn it in, he will have his consequence at school, or you highlight the consequence at home, but leave him, do not be after him. Set him free!”

Don’t mistake patience with negligence

Don’t go to the other extreme either. Do not confuse being patient with being indifferent, passive and even negligent, that is an extreme in which we do not want to fall as mothers.

Rather, it is about facing things with serenity, facing difficulties calmly, optimistically, always looking for the best solution.

Finally, don’t take time for mom for granted, start with minutes and increase it as needed.

“Make the T sign with your hands and tell your children, ‘Stop, it’s mom’s time, I don’t want to be interrupted in these following minutes.’ Start with five minutes, in that period no one can enter your space. You can even set a timer. This helps them accept and see that respect is a great value and that you also have your own things to do”, concludes Velasco.

Translated by: Ligia M. Oliver Manrique de Lara

Spanish version

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