Notes on Parenting

Insights for parenting babies, toddlers, teens, and young adults.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Understanding Why Your Child May Be Impatient


Have you ever asked your child to wait? Especially for something exciting, like their birthday, a visit from friends or family, or an activity. What is their usual reaction when you ask them to wait? Probably negatively.  Have you ever wondered why this may be?


The best thing to do is to try and consider what it is like being in your child’s shoes.  This way you will have an idea about what your child is feeling and thinking. So that you can answer the question “what does your child think when you tell them to wait?”

Let’s do some math, so that we can try and figure out what your child is going through when you ask them to wait. Let’s assume you are 30, and your child is two.

If your child is two, they are (for simplicities sake) 730 days old. Or even 17520 hours old. What does it mean to them when you ask them to wait until tonight, or tomorrow, or next week.

Asking them to wait 2 hours is 0.00011 of their life.

Asking them to wait 12 hours is 0.00068 of their life.

Asking them to wait 1 day is 0.00137 of their life.

Asking them to wait 1 week is 0.00959 of their life.

That doesn’t seem like a lot, none are even a full 1% of their life.  But your child is two, and they are perceiving this world through their two year old eyes, and their two year old life.

So lets understand what your child interprets those wait times into some sort of meaning by putting you, the parent, it their shoes.

Again, lets assume you are 30 years old, or 10950 days old.

So when you ask them to wait 2 hours, it is like asking you to wait 1 day.

When you ask your child to wait 12 hours, it is like asking you to wait 7.5 days.

When you ask your child to wait one day, it is like you waiting 15 days.

Lastly, when you ask your child to wait a week, it is like you waiting 105 days, about 15 weeks, or 3.5 months.

Are you patient when you are told to wait 1 day, 7 days, 15 days, or 105 days? Especially when it is something you are looking forward to. Probably not, because those are long waiting periods for us as adults! 

When we see the world through our eyes and ask our child to wait 12 hours, it is a short time period for us, but not for them. Remember 2 hours of waiting for them is 1 day of waiting for us, 12 hours is 7.5 days, 1 day is 15 days, and 1 week is 3.5 months.

Hopefully now you will have a little understanding of why your child may be so impatient and frustrated when you ask them to wait for something important to them, it is a long time in their little life.


Written by:
Josh Lockhart
.....is Locking Hearts Together



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