Motherhood can be a tricky thing. Some days you feel on top of the world while other days you can feel defeated. In some instances, you feel both of those emotions all within 30 seconds!
The other day, my friend and I decided to take our crew to the local Fire Station’s open house. My hubby was working and I wanted something to do with my girls. When we arrived, I noticed we were forgoing the strollers and letting the toddlers ‘be free’! The tricky thing about this… We had to park across the street at the high school and walk to the fire station. Well, the big kids could get there no problem but I was not going to let Quinn down quite yet. She did not want to hold my hand and there were too many cars in the parking lot. This was NOT what she wanted to do.
Sorry chick… Safety wins over this one! Mama isn’t giving in :).
So… What did I do?
Homegirl was literally crying and was squirming to get out of my arms. We have been working on a wait program for a few months now so when I tell her, “Show me waiting!”, she knows what this command means. It also allows her to stop and just take a BREATH!
At this point, we have reached the cross walk. I asked Quinn to “Wait!” and I then counted to five. By the time I reached five, Quinn had completely stopped crying! It was at this point I was able to rationally explain that once we crossed the busy street THEN she could get down and start walking. She was finally able to understand this contingency!
Bewildered and wide eyed, my friend who also has a toddler whispered….
You’re like a kid whisperer!
No… Not really. You win some and you lose some! Our days aren’t perfect (no ones are!). We still struggle. Literally right before my friend gave me that amazing compliment, I was feeling a hot mess! I mean, my child was literally climbing out of my arms. UNTIL I remembered that I have some amazing tools and that I should use them :). The fact that my husband and I are consistent is a huge game changer as well; it makes a HUGE difference.
Thankfully, Quinn calmed right down and we were able to have a BLAST at the Fire Station open house with our friends. Plus, a little face paint can turn anyones day around!
How to teach your child to wait…
For training purposes, let’s assume a child is eating a cracker.
Find an activity that can be easily stopped (e.g. a short video on an iPad or a small bite of cracker)
When you are first starting, make it a cracker that is NOT their all time favorite but one that they still like. The reason- you will be delaying access to the cracker when teaching your child what “waiting” means so you do not want the cracker to be SUPER reinforcing.
Parent should be in control of starting and stopping the activity (i.e. holding the cracker)
After a child eats a SMALL bite of the cracker, it is assumed that she will want more. Before going in for the second bite, state, “Wait” and wait for 1 second. If your child waits successfully for 1 second, provide them the cracker and pair it with verbal praise.
After several attempts of waiting successfully for 1 second, move on to waiting for 5 seconds while doing the same thing as stated above.
After several successful attempts at a 5 second wait time, move on to 10 seconds and then 20 seconds and so on.
You will eventually work your way up to waiting for longer periods of time. You will also work towards having your child wait for items that are more reinforcing.
Once your child understands the concept of waiting, they will understand that even if they have to “give something up”, they know they will eventually get it back so it typically does not result in a major meltdown… It is a WONDERFUL tool to put in your BeeHaven Tribe Tool Belt. 💪