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How to Teach Kids Patience with Games

Patience is often in short supply with kids in the house -- both yours and theirs may plummet depending on the situation. Playing games you already own is a simple way to help your child learn to wait for something. Your child waits for her turn, waits to see what happens in the game and waits to see who wins, but it might not always be easy. The game selection and the way you encourage her patience during game play benefits your child in the long run.

Select a board game that fits your child's ability level and interests. A game that is boring or too difficult makes him lose interest before he even has a chance to practice his patience. Choose a game that is simple to play so you can focus more on the waiting aspect than how to play the game.

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Ask your child to help you set up the game. She may want to play immediately, so helping her set it up shows her why she needs to be patient. She also feels useful when she makes a contribution to the process.

Explain the rules of the game, or review the rules if your child already knows how to play. Establish the playing order. Young kids often want to be first, but having your child wait for his turn gives him a chance to practice patience right away 2.**

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Talk to your child if you notice her getting impatient while she waits for her turn. Say "Waiting for your turn to roll the dice is difficult, isn't it? I know you're excited, but we need to give everyone a turn. Can you cheer on your sister while she takes her turn?"

Give specific directions if your child isn't waiting for a turn. Say "Please give the dice to your brother. It is his turn now, not yours. Keep your hands in your lap while you wait."

Praise your child when he shows patience during game play. Say "I like the way you kept your hands back from the game board when it wasn't your turn. Way to wait patiently!"

Monitor your own patience levels as you play the game. It's sometimes frustrating if a child dawdles while playing the game or takes too long to finish her turn. Instead of telling her to hurry up, sit back and enjoy the game. Modeling patience shows her how to act 2.**