Learning the art of patience

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Remaining patient with a little one can be a real struggle can’t it? It's another one of those things that you learn when you become a new parent - learning the art of patience is really important. A lack of patience can have a profound impact on your relationships with your nearest and dearest, which in turn can impact your health and mindset. We live in a time when stress levels seem to be an all time highs, so putting things in place to help manage this can be really beneficial to you and those around you.

Being or becoming more patient first requires awareness
Once you understand what is creating a lack of patience, you can make changes. Ask yourself, why are you getting so upset and what actions are causing this emotion? It can at times feel like children are purposely doing things to get you frustrated which reduces your ability to remain calm, but remember they’re young and still finding their way in the world. We cannot judge them by our standards. It’s our ‘job’ to make them aware of the impact of their actions.

Like any skill, it requires practice and constant awareness and commitment. Real patience requires the willingness to let life unfold at its own pace and reveal itself to you. Again, our children are learning constantly so we must show them with our approach and carefully explain the impact of their actions.

But how do you learn patience? Some thoughts to consider…..

The first thing to do is to understand what it is that causes you to become impatient and the impact this is having. There are likely to be some common causes, but it will be different for everyone. I would encourage you to grab a pen and paper and just write out the things that cause problems. This process alone will help massively - getting things out of your head and on to paper can be very soothing. Better awareness = better choices.

Avoid speaking when angry
Speaking in anger often makes the situation worse and can escalate what in the grand scheme of things is a fairly trivial issue i.e. tidying up toys, in to a major problem. If you can feel yourself losing control of your emotions, walk away from the situation and take the time to cool down. This will enable you to collect your thoughts and revisit the situation with a clear mind. Not only will an escalation be avoided, but you can calmly explain why the toys need to be tidied, for example.

Be present in the moment 
When you’re with your children, try to be with them completely. We can all be guilty of trying to balance too many things are once, which can raise stress levels and prevent us from reacting with the patience required. This needs to be a conscious decision to switch off distraction and provide absolute attention to your little ones. This alone may reduce the need to be extra patient as children can often ‘act up’ just to gain our attention - it’s what they crave most!

Sow the seed and water the plants 
What does that mean? Well, you've probably heard the phase ‘Trust the Process’. The temptation can be to try and control every element of our little one’s young life. For all the right reasons, we don’t want them to get hurt or do things we wouldn’t, but for them to grow, we at times need to step back and trust the process. Set the direction but allow them space to experiment. Again, this takes personal awareness and commitment. The benefit of adopting this approach is that little ones come to their own solutions and you don’t have to tell them what to do every 5 minutes - removing a level of stress on both sides. This can feel un-natural and in the early days can feel like it’s not working, but if you allow the seed to grow, it will turn in to a beautiful flower.

Put things in to perspective
Linked to the 2nd bullet point, some of the things that make us impatient are generally really not that important. They are in the moment, but how often do we say things in the moment and then regret it afterwards? Learning from those times is key and again, make a conscious effort the next time a situation is developing to put it in perspective. Ask yourself if the situation is worth a full-on argument? 9 times out of 10, the answer will be no. That’s not to say we should ignore it, but we do have the choice how to react. Our actions have a much more meaningful impact on our children than the words we speak. It’s the old adage - actions speak louder than words.

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