Teaching Kids How to Wait


Every day in an SEN classroom will bring natural pauses in planned activity; teaching students to wait is one of the most essential skills they can acquire.

Start small and gradually increase waiting time by using visual aids, like a sand timer or wait box (a container they can access when ready). This teaches that rewards are worth waiting for.

1. Reframe the situation.

Your situation may not be in your hands, but you can change how you perceive it. Look for positive approaches – such as daydreaming or researching an activity you want to try- that might help brighten up the day and boost your mood. Also, look for opportunities to help others – giving is always good for improving mood!

Reframing is the concept that there are multiple perspectives to a situation, and while some may be negative, there’s usually one that can be constructive or even energizing. While reframing can be challenging at first, with practice, you will become better and stronger at it – to get started, try this quick and straightforward thought record exercise to record all your thoughts!

3. Co-regulate with your child.

First and foremost, remember that children don’t come equipped with the ability to self-regulate; they must learn these skills through healthy co-regulation with their caregivers. Co-regulation requires both parties to be on board – that means you and your child need to work as part of a team!

When children are upset, we must tune into them physically and emotionally. Their body language, facial expressions, and voice all reveal clues as to their state. Children’s emotions can be challenging to manage; by taking time to connect with our young clients, we can help ease anxiety while giving them tools for managing enormous feelings.

One effective method for co-regulating is giving a hug; this pause allows them to regain equilibrium while also reinforcing that they are safe. You could even help identify what emotions may be coming up for them, such as, “Your legs seem tight right now; perhaps that means you are scared?” (or whatever is applicable at the time).

Verbalizing their emotions can also be very effective at helping younger kids learn to identify and express their feelings, providing validation and understanding, which is so crucial for healthy attachment!

Finally, it would be best if you learned to regulate yourself. Emotions may become easily aroused during this stressful period; therefore, it’s crucial that you can re-calibrate and hold yourself so you can be there when your children need you the most.

5. reward them.

Impatience can be frustrating, but how we respond is what really counts. Learning to take our time and think before acting can be invaluable – not only will you avoid instant reactions, but this approach may also give you more control of the situation at hand – for instance, if you’ve spent 16 hours sending out resumes without seeing any sign of work opportunities; rather than feel trapped waiting for something to happen you could ask yourself whether the right things have been prioritized instead of feeling like something’s missing in life.

Teaching kids and students to wait patiently with patience and a plan can have a dramatic impact on their lives. Not only can it build self-control and stamina, but it teaches them that other people’s needs should not always come before their own, leading them to be more aware of others’ perspectives – ultimately leading to happier adults!

One effective way to teach your children patience when waiting is by rewarding them for waiting quietly and patiently, which may make it more likely they continue practicing this behavior when faced with unfamiliar or challenging situations, such as waiting in line for food or watching their favorite show before going to sleep. Visual timers are another great way of encouraging patience while helping kids and students realize that waiting will soon end.