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Teaching them to "wait".

(16 Posts)
ScarletLady02 Tue 25-Sep-12 07:53:42

My DD is 21 months and I'm struggling a bit with her at the moment. She's becoming very wilful (normal I know) and if she can't do something or have something instantly she has a melt-down. Is it really hard to teach them the concept of waiting? I'm not giving in to her, sometimes she just has to wait for things. Do I just stick with it? I always get down to her level and explain in a calm voice that she needs to wait a minute and why...is this the right thing to do? She's my first and I'm clueless. I give her lots of praise if she does as I ask as well, and I'm trying to ignore negative behaviour. When do you start disciplining them? I can't help but feel that she's not really being naughty, she just doesn't understand that she needs to wait and whatever she wants to happen is going to happen in a little while...it's really hard. I don't feel like I should be punishing her for this behaviour. She's learning words well and an say loads, but isn't at the stage of sentences yet, so I'm hoping things improve as her talking does.

Please tell me I'm not alone!

ScarletLady02 Tue 25-Sep-12 07:54:35

and can say loads

ZuleikaD Tue 25-Sep-12 08:03:29

It sounds completely normal and I think you're doing the right thing. Toddlers aren't patient and are only just starting to learn that they're not the centres of the universe! Patience does have to be learned, and learning that they can wait is the first step.

DeWe Tue 25-Sep-12 09:06:40

I found places like Legoland brilliant for teaching waiting. They can see the queue, can just about understand that everyone else wants to go too (even if they don't like it).

It is worth using the word "wait" and "someone elses turn, you're after this person" and "I need to do X before we can go to the park" etc. They learn gradually that they can't always do everything immediately, going through a stage they understand but don't like it-and tell you so. I would continue with what you are doing. If she goes to do it after you've said "wait" then fine, put her on the naughty step or whatever you do if you feel that's right.
If she has a strop etc. then don't punish, but sympathise (if relevant) "I know it's hard we can't go to the park yet, but I need to finish X first, then we can go for longer"-but ignore the strop other than that, and certainly don't go sooner.

At this age they don't really understand it, but give another year and she'll understand and even do it without complaining sometimes...

BabydollsMum Tue 25-Sep-12 09:07:45

You're not alone. DD's exactly the same. But I have to say as her speech has come on the meltdowns have subsided a bit though. It's as if she has more authority and confidence, so there's hope!

DoubleYew Tue 25-Sep-12 09:15:29

I tell ds he's going to need to be patient as I have to do X. "Your good at being patient aren't you?" seems to have some effect.

If he kicks off I explain he can go and do Y or he can stay here and help / watch me depending what it is.

Agree they do need to understand they aern't centre of the universe all the time. I do the quick explanation and then get on with it.

Littleraysofsunshine Tue 25-Sep-12 11:46:32

Same here, 23m dd very intelligent and strong minded. I also have a 17 week old dd so needing to wait is needed. I do the same and don't think she's wanting to be challenging and "naughty" then I think when do they understand yes, no, listening, discipline

I'm still wondering!sad

Davsmum Tue 25-Sep-12 14:11:59

You sound like you are doing it exactly right.!!

Your DD does not really have to 'understand' at this stage - she just needs to see that her meltdown does not get 'rewarded' by you giving in.
Of course you do not have to punish her. Just be consistent and ignore the 'tantrum' and she will learn and it will eventually pass.

Don't be tempted to give in just because its getting on your nerves or she seems 'upset'
Children DO get upset when they cannot have what they want. It doesn't kill them.
BTW - discipline does not mean 'punishment' - It starts as soon as you are teaching a child acceptable behaviour etc.

familyfun Tue 25-Sep-12 14:18:17

try to say yes in a minute rather than no not yet, make it positive, and dont give a long reason for why they need to wait as it makes them more frustrated.

ShhhhhGoBackToSleep Tue 25-Sep-12 14:23:30

It's hard for such little children to understand waiting, and delayed gratification. They are just not developmentally capable of it yet. It is something that you can encourage and she will get it in time.

Playing games and activities where she has to wait for a turn (for example doing baking and you both taking turns to stir) and giving updates/explanations can help her to understand and make sense of it, but sometimes she will just have a strop! And that's completely normal!

I think it is a bit harsh to punish a child for being sad/cross, but I would punish for acting negatively on it, so if DS had a tizzy because he wanted to go on the swing I would sympathise, explain why he had to wait and that if he didn't want to wait he could play on something else and if he carried on having a tizzy I would ignore him. If he hit or pushed or snatched because he didn't want to wait though, I would punish him for the actions if you see what I mean?

ZuleikaD Tue 25-Sep-12 15:16:27

Eggtimers are good too - you can get sandtimers in all kinds of time-scales - and they're also useful for monitoring turn-taking. A child finds it much easier to wait for their turn if they can 'see' the time passing by watching the sand flow through.

AngelDog Tue 25-Sep-12 19:32:01

Start by asking her to wait, and get her to wait for 30 seconds. Then extend it to 1 minute, then to 2 minutes etc. It's hard to learn all at once.

Agree too with phrasing things positively e.g. "After I've finished chopping this onion, I'll find the book for you," rather than, "No, I can't find the book now - you'll have to wait till I've finished chopping this onion."

I think some is personality-driven too - my DS (now 2.8 y.o.) has always coped well with having to wait for things, but I don't think much of that is down to me.

Ozziegirly Wed 26-Sep-12 06:09:21

I sympathise, I have an impatient 2 year old. I have done similar to you, I emphasise "waiting our turn" in queues, and I explain that we can do something but I have to do X first and then I basically ignore any screaming.

I do sometimes say "you do know that screaming doesn't make pasta cook faster don't you?" but that's more for me than him......

I'm hoping he'll grow out of it, but it is rather wearing.

paranoid2android Wed 26-Sep-12 06:57:24

Please don't ignore your daughters tantrums!
She understands the concept of waiting that's why she cries. If you can offer cuddles love and closeness whole she expresses her feelings about having to wait she will be much more patient because she will have had a big long cry about how hard it is. If you ignore her expressing her feelings, she doesn't get a chance to heal from the upset of having to wait.
Yes ignoring crying stops the crying- but it doesn't deal with the feelings that lead to the crying which just results in more of a build up of anger and impatience.
Would you ignore a crying adult ? I don't think so. So don't give in to societal pressure to ignore a crying child-

ScarletLady02 Wed 26-Sep-12 07:49:35

Sorry, when I said ignore, I meant I ignore the behaviour in terms of not giving in to it. I don't just act like she doesn't exist. I always get down next to her and explain why she needs to wait and if she does get upset I am sympathetic and she gets cuddles. I'll try and distract her with something or make her laugh.

All this advice has been fantastic, thank-you so much. It's nice to know I'm not alone. It doesn't help that she seems to be learning so much and coming on so fast with her words, that I think it just overloads her head sometimes.

Anyway...must dash, DD has decided she wants to play with my guitar...AGAIN! grin

BooBumpDaddyandMe Thu 11-Oct-12 21:42:35

I think I must say "wait" way too often as ds has started frowning and saying "wait" back at me, frowning & having a little flounce!
That and "no".
Some days I feel like I must be an ogre of a Mother sad.

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