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Kids Can

Wait for it!

kids taking turns playing a game

alarm clock 

The ability to wait for things, finish what we start, and focus on goals begins with self-control.

  • Children who are able to wait are more dependable, better adjusted and do better in school and social settings.
  • Waiting for or earning things makes children more appreciative when they get them.
  • Rewards to promote good behaviour can send the wrong message to your child. Children should learn to do things just for the sake of being kind and good.
  • Children learn self-control when they see it role modelled.
  • Developing patience and impulse control leads to happier kids.
alarm clock

Here's how you can help your child learn self-control:

  • Teach your child ways to enjoy waiting e.g. in the line at the grocery store play, ‘I spy with my little eye
  • Role model patience. Sing a little song like “Count to eight, it helps me wait: 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8!” Ask your child to sing it with you.
  • Praise your child for waiting. For example say, "It was really hard for you to wait your turn, but you did it! You are getting better at waiting."
  • Teach your child to say excuse me when they want someone’s attention and to wait for a response.

  • Screen Tips

    • Ensure your child’s screen time does not exceed the recommended amount.
    • For those under 2 years, screen time (e.g., TV, computer, electronic games) is not recommended.
    • For children 2–4 years, screen time should be limited to under one hour per day; less is better.
    • Learn more here.

  • Teach your child to ask permission for things e.g. before turning on the TV or having a snack.
  • Have your child complete other tasks before they are given screen time.


boy waiting with sticker
  • Play ‘Red Light- Green Light’ with your child. When she hears you say, “Green light,” she moves forward. When she hears, ‘Red light,’ she must freeze.
  • Play some music and have your child dance. Instruct your child to freeze when the music stops and hold their position until the music starts again.
  • Plant a seed or a bean and wait for it to grow.
  • Do an activity, such as a board game, where your child has to wait for their turn.
  • Track your child’s success.  Set up a chart for your child using stickers or checkmarks.