Teach patience by planting seeds

All parents know that patience is not common in young children. Maybe that is true for all of us. However, patience is something that each child must learn.

When your child enters school, she needs to be able to sit quietly while she waits for her turn or learn to hold up her hand and wait to be called upon. She needs to be able to be quiet while you answer the phone and learn that her question will have to wait until you are finished to give her the answer she wants. Even waiting for dinner is a lesson in patience. So like many other things, even patience is something parents actively need to be teaching their child.

One of the ways to teach patience to your child is by planting seeds. It is also a wonderful task to do together. You can buy the seeds together. It takes a minimum of space to plant them. You can let the task of watering the seeds be your child?s, but you may first need to show her how so that it isn't overdone. And then you wait. And she waits.

A good kind of seed to begin with is radishes. They grow fast so the child will not have to wait as long as for slower growing seeds. You will be surprised at the speed at which they grow and so will she. It will be days before they sprout. As your child sees the progress of her plants, she will be excited and feel good about herself for what she has accomplished.

Planting seeds not only teaches patience, but also teaches responsibility (watering them), planning ahead, curiosity and communication, and it raises self-esteem.

Talk about patience. The old saying that "Patience is a virtue" has merit. Make sure when she waits for something that you comment on how pleased you are that she waited so patiently. We need to learn to make a big deal of the many things our children do correctly.

Cynthia Martin is the founder of the First Teacher program and director of Parenting Matters Foundation. Reach Martin at or at 681-2250.

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