Friday, January 15, 2016

The Power of Patience and Repitition

Being the age I am, my Facebook feed is filled with pictures of adorable babies, children and families. While these pictures are the majority, scattered among them are posts from their parents with pleas for help to solve all sorts of parenting issues they're facing. When you align those adorable faces with the pleas, one thing is clear: children can stretch the abilities of the most skilled adults I know.

Now, I know it doesn't take a rocket scientist (or any kind of scientist, really) to come to this conclusion. But recognizing and understanding this idea is important. Why? Because we, as adults, forget that children are often doing things for the first time. Tying their shoes, making their beds, sweeping the floor, getting on the bus to go to school, walking, learning words, and the list could go on!

Adults have done the same tasks hundreds of thousands of times. Or, if faced with a new situation, we have years of experience to help us tie similar situations together or friends to ask who have been there before. If you find yourself frustrated by situations that fit what I'm talking about, there are two skills I would encourage you to spend some time on: patience and repetition.

First, patience. I laugh as I suggest this. This is a skill that so many say they want and need more of, myself included. Obviously that makes it important to take some time to focus on. You can't gain a skill if you're not actively thinking about how to apply it to your life.

How will patience help your child? If you thought about it, you could answer this for yourself better than I can. But let me help you get the thoughts rolling. For adults the world is moving at a fast pace - jobs, errands, events, sickness, coordinating life, etc. It seems our tasks are endless. For children, none of these tasks are required of them. They can stop and enjoy the moment, which they do so often!

I'm not saying one perspective is better or more right than the other. Its one of the differences between adults and children. What I am saying is that adults need to remember this is the perspective of children and appreciate the difference. Part of being patient is learning when to apply this skill. Figure out when you can enjoy the ladybug that just flew onto your child's jacket or when you need to rush your children out the door because its time to take a sick child to the doctor.

Now, for repetition. I'm sure it seems like an interesting skill to combine with patience. In all honesty,
applying repetition in ways that children need is a test in patience! Think about it: how long it takes you to learn something new and apply it in your lives? We gain new knowledge all the time, but applying it is the hard part. However, applying new skills is crucial for kids; they're learning all about how to live life.

So, remember the value of repetition, especially the younger your children are. Repeat instructions. Repeat the importance of why you're doing something. Repeat a task - breaking it into small steps and focusing on different parts of it until your child can do it all on her own. Repeat songs. Repeat stories. From all of this repetition you child is gaining a better relationship with you, the ability to redirect his focus and supporting the mastery a life skill.

If you find that you're struggling in a situation with your child, I believe a focus on these, patience and repetition, can help both of you. It will slow things down. It will help you, as the parent, evaluate the situation better. It will also increase the time you spend on something, and time is something children often need.

Lets get back to focusing on those adorable faces in your family pictures. How will you apply patience and repetition today?

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