School Toolbox: Being Able To Wait

Kids often receive lists of items they will need to start kindergarten. Besides these, there are some other tools and strategies, like being able to wait.

strategic allocation of attentionAre you asking how this could possibly be important for school? It’s hard to believe, but it can have a very significant impact on children’s success at school.

Having to wait is a fact of life, and it’s not just negative. Kids have to wait until they get up in the morning; they can’t always get out of bed as soon as they wake up. Sometimes, it’s still before 5 or 6 in the morning. After helping to mix up a batch of cookies, they have to wait until they are baked. When walking, we have to wait for the light to change before crossing the street.

Being able to waiting requires impulse control and self-regulation. We don’t realize that being able to wait is a skill. Instead, we think of it as personality, but being patient depends on the strategies that we know and use so that we can wait. Some of these waiting-tools might be singing, playing games, reading a book or telling stories.

social skills for kindergartenGerald the elephant, has a very hard time waiting with Piggie in the story Waiting is Not Easy, by Mo Willems. He handles waiting with groans. Piggie reminds his elephant friend that it will be worth it.

Waiting time has actually been the subject of some scientific research. It’s called Strategic Allocation of Attention. Studying years after high school requires that we be able to delay the reward. Spending years building a business means being able to wait for the payoff. Like other skills, it needs practice and exercise to get good at it.

Helping your child develop a few tools for being able to wait is another way to equip their off to school toolbox. Can you wait for another idea until tomorrow?

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