With some sun and rain this month gardens are sprouting everywhere, and so is the fun, learning and kindergarten readiness. One of the most important lessons that all of us learn from the experience of having a garden is patience. Plants grow when they grow and we just have to wait. We can’t pull up the radishes, or pick some spinach or lettuce until they are ready and we can’t tell the plants to hurry up either. Well, we can tell them but they still grow in their own time. We just have to wait.
Did you know that waiting requires some difficult impulse control and self-regulation? At any age and stage, both kids and grownups have to be able to wait. Being able to wait is so important that children who can cope with waiting when they are young, have higher test scores at graduation. In case you want to know, the term for this is “Strategic Allocation of Attention”. The point though is that all kids can develop some strategies and skills so they can handle the challenge of waiting.
One strategy that helps for waiting is simply to talk about it. We can tell kids that the garden will take a long time to grow and that it will be hard to wait. And we need to let kids know that we see them waiting. We all like to have our efforts acknowledged no matter our age. We can have fun with it and make it easier. Ask the garden if it’s ready yet? Be the voice of the garden and say No. Then you and your child can groan. Try a soft groan, or a very sad one. Some other ways to groan might be a deep rumble, or a squeaky one. How would a lion groan, or a horse? Sneak up on the garden on tiptoes and see if it’s ready. Use some detective eyes to look around. Waiting is much better when it’s fun. When the garden finally is ready, remember to celebrate all the waiting so that the effort is connected to a positive outcome. Would you agree that the seeds for some life skills are planted when kids are young?