Being a parent is a nerve-wracking job at times, that will test your patience more than anything you ever endeavor to do in your life. And at times, you may wonder where you will muster up the patience to do the job and move through life.
It isn’t always easy. But, it is possible to become a more patient parent. Actually, it’s more than possible. With the right mindset, the right understanding, and the right approach, you can actually become a patient superhero in your child’s life.
It’s no wonder that parents report struggling with remaining patient. After the 18th time your child asks you if they can have the toy you just stowed away, or after the 300th time of being asked the same question after you’ve just answered it yet again- being a parent can be quite triggering. However, in spite of this, and in spite of the fact that it’s not possible to be perfect, it’s important to truly hone in on your skills of patience so you can be the best parent you can be. Here are 8 ways to be a more patient parent.
1. Understand your triggers.
Pay attention to what triggers you most as a parent. Is it easier for you to become triggered when there are a lot of things going on at once (becoming overstimulated?) Do you become triggered by having to repeat yourself? Or is it mainly during the morning time when you end up snapping? Whatever your triggers are, identify them and then understand how to prepare for them.
2. Observe how you respond to your child.
How do you respond when you are triggered? Do you begin to get shaky and your heart rate rises? Do you feel the urge to yell? Identify how you respond and then ask yourself, what is the best response? Try to implement better responses moving forward.
3. Change your tone.
A lot of times, it’s our first response to want to yell when our patience wears thin. It’s even easier to forget that when your child is triggering you, they likely need you to respond gently more than ever. This is why it’s important to check your tone. If you begin yelling, it’s very likely you will only feed their frenzy, which in turn, will only escalate the situation.
4. Create a calm down practice.
Prepare for intense moments in which you want to snap by having a plan to calm down. This might be walking away to the bathroom, closing the door, and breathing. It could be counting to ten in your mind while breathing mindfully. Or, it could be splashing your face with water. Whatever it is- have it in mind and use it.
5. Try to redirect.
At times, the best thing you can do is redirect your child when they are trying your patience. For example, if your child has asked you the same question 30 times, hand them a toy they love and ask them questions about it. Or, give them a sheet of paper and sit down and color with them. Toddlers are very easy to distract and redirect, which will make it easier for you to calm yourself.
6. Practice mindfulness.
Mindfulness is everything. When you begin to feel overwhelmed, pull yourself back into the moment. Remind yourself to focus on the moment at hand. Remind yourself that you are working with a tiny human who needs your compassion. And remind yourself that no matter how frustrated you are, this too shall pass.
7. Write it down.
When you handle a situation better or worse than you expect, write down notes about it. Write down what happened. Write down how you felt and write down what you did. Then, write down your reflections and how you could have done better or worse.
8. Take time for self-care.
Above all DO NOT allow yourself to burn out. Even if that means taking some time for just you for some self-care, find a way to take it. You cannot pour from an empty cup.