Teaching Patience to your Toddler: A Guide

How to teach patience to your toddler?

teach patience to your toddler

Photo by Artem Podrez from Pexels

Raising children is no walk in the park, you are immediately responsible for their morals, attitudes, and the way they will eventually relate to the world around them. Teaching your kids to exhibit love, gratitude, self-control, and emotion in a healthy and positive way can be hard. However, in this article, I will aim to break down some helpful strategies and starting points for one of the hardest things to teach a child: patience. While toddlers can be whiny, crying, and have tantrums, it’s never too early to teach your child patience. Plus, understand that toddlers will need time to develop patience in them. 

A toddler who is allowed to tantrum will not become a productive and functioning member of society. However, patience is exactly what you – the parent – will need when teaching them patience! Hopefully, this little tips and tricks will give you the little bit of insight that you need to get started. 

Start with the small things

It is important to introduce the need for patience at a very early age and stage. As soon as your toddler starts to act impatiently, requiring things instantly, or actively throwing tantrums when they do not immediately get their way; start requiring them to exhibit a small amount of patience. “For example, when they demand their bottle, stop them, and wait 30 seconds before giving it to them. These small doses of patience at an early age will stand you in good stead eventually when training in larger doses of restraint, patience, and self-control” says Jennifer Plummer, a psychology blogger at Revieweal and Eliteassignmenthelp

Teaching self-control

Self-control is hard even for adults. Lack of self-control is the cause of larger problems such as binge eating, overindulgence (in anything), stealing and other forms of crime, adultery, and lots of bigger things. However, lack of self-control can start as a child and be extremely problematic in a child’s schooling, early friendships, and familial relationships. Self-control is the act of restraining oneself from having too much of something. 

This can be taught in many ways, but one popular method is the ‘cookie jar’. Having a cookie jar as a reward for good behavior, but only allowing one cookie at a time, teaches measure and balance, while simultaneously teaching a child second-hand self-control. If your child was to breach your ‘agreement’ and try and take an extra cookie for themselves, the lesson of honesty and trust needs to be taught as well as self-control. Teach your child that impatience is not the answer to their problems or the solution to delay. 

Scheduling in delays 

Our modern world is full of instant gratification, and it is easy to get used to this and think that all things arrive exactly when we want them to. This is simply not the case! Trains run late, relationships do not run at the timeline we want them to, and there is often a long line at the supermarket when you are in a rush. Life does not work to your schedule, and you will be setting your child up for failure in the real world if you raise them in a bubble where things always go their way and the world always runs to their schedule. 

As parents, it is important to delay gratification sometimes simply for the purpose of teaching our children patience. Though this may seem silly and trite, it is an important lesson to enforce. For example, introduce interruptions while you are delivering something your toddler asked for. This is called ‘patience stretching’. This may mean taking a phone call when delivering a sippy cup asked for or having a conversation that interrupts dinner being served for 5 minutes. These little interruptions will begin to teach delays and the patience needed to cope with them. 

Teaching taking turns

One of the biggest reasons we need to teach our toddlers patience is for their entry into the education system and interacting with different children on a day-to-day basis. Taking turns with toys, activities, and other toddler-esque things can seem to be one of the hardest things to get a toddler to do as they are growing up. However, if taught at home, this can be introduced and solidified earlier. “It may even help to introduce rewards when your toddler shares or chooses to share. Waiting turns with siblings is one of the best ways to teach this, as well as with your friends’ children, or even asking them to share with you if these options are not available to you” says Susan King, a lifestyle writer at State of writing and Ukwritings.   

Timers and countdowns 

Visual tools often help kids with patience, as they show both yourself and the child how long is left to wait. This often helps parents out as much as it does children, especially if you are a busy parent with other things to do! Visual maps on long car rides can minimize the ‘are we there yet?’ questions, and timers before an activity can decrease the difficulty of teaching patience to impatient children. 

Enable intrinsic motivation

Sometimes, parents reward their children without the children ever earning it. But with patience, children can learn to do things without expecting a reward afterward.

Intrinsic motivation is doing something without any obvious external rewards. It’s doing something, not because there’s a reward at the end of it, but because it’s the right thing to do. 

Say your child sees someone drop their wallet, and they want to give it back to the person who had dropped it. Here, the child should learn that returning a lost item is the right thing to do, rather than have them expect a reward for doing so. Intrinsic motivation acts as a moral compass and should be instilled in toddlers. Also, parents should be that example. When they see that doing the right thing is favorable, then they’ll emulate that practice themselves.

Stay positive & enforce positivity

It is very easy to get frustrated and down when teaching an impatient child patience, trust me I understand. Teaching patience takes a hell of a lot of patience. Even though sometimes it is difficult to stay positive about the whole experience, try to do this. Projecting positivity may be hard, but it will bounce off you onto the little one to who you are trying to teach patience to. If the experience becomes a wholly negative one, your toddler may begin to associate negative emotions with patience as a whole idea. This is never a good idea! 

If you start to experience negativity while teaching patience, pass the baton to another parental or authority figure. Get the role models in your little one’s life involved. The more people who are trying to teach your toddler patience, the more likely they are to start adopting the trait and growing up patient and happy. 


Ultimately, children, including toddlers, will get to experience a wide range of feelings as they grow up. However, teaching them the right behaviors, including patience, can be beneficial to them in the long run.

We hope that this guide helps you in teaching patience to your little ones!

Good luck! 

Author BIO 

Elizabeth Hines is an online digital marketing executive and article writer for Essay Roo and Big Assignments. She enjoys writing about professional networking and business development. She also contributes her work to other online magazines and blogs, such as Study demic.

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