Advice from Preschool Teachers

"My son wants everything 'now' and has no patience."

  • Distract him. For a younger preschooler, use his short attention span to your advantage. "To a 2-year-old, something can seem incredibly urgent, but once you divert your child with a favorite song, toy, or snack, he may forget all about it," Pfau says.
  • Help him understand time. You can't make a 3- or 4-year-old forget what he wants so easily. At the same time, he's not ready to grasp concepts like "We'll go to your friend's house in two hours." Instead, break down time into units he can relate to, such as how long you usually spend at the playground. "If it's a matter of days or weeks," says Pfau, "cross off each day on a calendar together so he can physically see how long it takes."
  • Make him deal with delays. It's important for your child to learn he can't get everything the moment he asks for it. Constant reinforcement of this message ("I'm sorry, honey, but you'll just have to wait until tomorrow for your presents") will help him start to accept this. And when the much-anticipated moment finally arrives, be sure to praise your child by saying, "Wow, you did such a wonderful job of being patient."

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