Staying Patient During Your Child’s Development

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It happens to the best of us. Sometimes we are so eager for major life events that we grow anxious or impatient while waiting for the moment to arrive. Parents of little ones know this to be true as they watch their children grow and thrive.

Each child develops at his or her own pace, and many parents seek to find balance between anticipation and patience throughout common developmental stages. Below are some tips to encourage a child’s development while practicing patience along the way.

Baby’s First Steps

Watching a child stand up and take those first precious steps often inspires a swell of joy in parents. But what happens if your son or daughter takes longer to learn to walk than a classmate or a friend’s child?

First, take a deep breath and relax. Some babies hesitate to take first steps. You can encourage their development by building their confidence. Grasp their hands and help them to walk longer distances incrementally, as they get used to the motions. Stationary and standing activity centers encourage babies to get comfortable with standing instead of crawling. Once you see that they’re exploring more, it is important to remove wheeled walkers, which reduce a baby’s desire to walk on their own.

Potty Training

If you find that your child resists the idea of the toilet, there are ways to help them become more comfortable. One step is to bring your child to the potty on a schedule–every half hour or every hour, depending on age. If he or she does not use the toilet, that’s OK. Remember that you’re developing the correlation between going potty and the toilet. Eventually, reduce the forced trips as your child’s independence and understanding take over.

If this doesn’t work or your child needs more support, a reward system may offer additional encouragement. For every successful potty trip, you can reward your child with a special snack or toy. A redeeming system for acquired gold stars might also offer the motivation your child needs. Eventually though, you will then have to wean away from rewards.


Reading presents an important skill that helps children both academically and imaginatively. Some kids, however, learn at a slower pace or struggle to read. If you notice that your son or daughter shies away from reading or falls behind in school, contact the appropriate professionals—whether that be a teacher or a doctor—to see if there’s a learning disability.

Make reading fun for kids and use it as a bonding experience between you and your child. As a parent, you may notice persistent struggles in certain areas and help where necessary. If you still find resistance to reading, suggest that he or she reads aloud to a less intimidating audience such as a family pet, a favorite doll or stuffed animal.

Developing Patience

Do you struggle with patience? Figure out what drives your impatience. Is it fear of failure? Is it a feeling of shame? Do you worry for your child’s well-being, or is the impatience linked to something within yourself? Once you discover what triggers your impatience, remind yourself that the feeling is uncomfortable but not intolerable and that you can work through it. From there, you can start to talk yourself through your uncomfortable feelings.

When you need advice, get an expert opinion. Talk your child’s pediatrician about progress and expectations.

Additional Resources

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