How to prevent your baby from being impatient: teach him to wait

Although it seems impossible from the first weeks of a baby, and between 0 and 2 years old, children can be taught the habit of waiting. The important thing is not so much to teach them to be patient but to try to establish orderly routines that will help them in their development and which, in turn, will make life easier for the rest of the people around them.

When a baby has just arrived home, the first impression that parents have after several sleepless nights is that their life will never come back to order. Chaos takes over the schedules of the family as a whole in such a way that it is as impossible as it is frustrating to try to plan precious times for any activity. However, although in those first weeks it seems like a science fiction novel, it is possible to teach children to wait.


The key is simple: to inculcate from the cradle some well-defined schedules, you get a behavior habit that will make much easier those moments in which we will encourage your patience.

The dream, the cornerstone

A well-sleeping child is a happy child. For that reason alone, it is worthwhile to strive to achieve certain habits in the sleep routines of babies that will be perpetuated when, after the first months, they begin to consolidate their sleep and wakefulness rhythms. But if it is good to be aware that the first beneficiary in the order in the dream is the baby itself, it is also accepted that during the first months of life the routines are very difficult to maintain and are subject to a multitude of factors that make them jump through the air the usual rhythms.


There are many theories regarding how to make children sleep well. But all agree that babies need a number of hours of sleep much higher than those needed by adults. And when they have not rested enough, nothing works. They are irascible and that causes them to sleep worse, that it is more difficult for them to sleep. They are hungry, but they are so tired that they eat poorly and do not satisfy their appetite. They end up entering a vicious circle that not only alters their biorhythms but those of the rest of the family.

Numerous studies have found a direct relationship between the lack of sleep of babies and a difficult character or irritable behavior. For Dr. Diego García Borreguero, president of the Spanish Sleep Society, there are three basic objectives for parents: synchronize the baby's rhythms with day and night, get regular schedules in the different routines, teach babies to reconcile Alone the dream from the stage of the cradle.


The meals in order, more healthy

In the first months of life, when milk is the only food that the baby receives, the rhythms of food are usually between two and four hours, with slight variations. Some doctors recommend feeding 'on demand', that is, when the baby asks for it, and others advise waiting a bit between taking and taking. Be that as it may, after the first weeks, almost all the babies end up establishing their own behavior rhythms.

If parents analyze the hours that babies eat, a specific behavior arises naturally. If we maintain these rhythms in the diet, we will achieve successful routines in other areas. There are many factors that must be taken into account. The number of meals differs depending on elements such as the need for fluids, activity or illness.

Little by little, as babies move to the feeding with spoon, the rhythms of the five daily meals can be adapted in such a way that they are distributed well in the waking time. The importance of order in meals goes beyond the development of patience. It is also key to guarantee a balanced menu, better calibrated, with a more rational distribution of different types of nutrients.

Also, having to wait for certain hours between one shot and another, they will be hungry enough. Children who, from an early age, learn that they can 'snack' between meals and get a cookie from time to time, arrive with less hunger to the next meal and worsen their diet because they supplement with slow-absorbing carbohydrates that satiate the appetite, the actual needs of nutrients.

When the child grows up and their schedules can be coordinated with those of the rest of the family members, the waits for food become much more bearable. The reward is not the dish, but sharing a moment together. However, if the feeding rhythms are not balanced with the sleep rhythms, very young children often refuse to eat because tiredness is more important than hunger.

For your baby, everything in its time

Some of the habits we try to develop in babies are intended to make the following activities easier. That is why order is so important in those times that mediate between meals and sleep.Thus, a little time of daily activity in the morning will help them to develop their psychomotor potential and, at the same time, it is opening their appetites for lunch. Playing with them in the afternoon serves to enhance attachment, but also to maintain their interest at a time when they begin to be tired and we run the risk of falling into a deep nap after hours and skipping a meal. The habit of bathing them before going to sleep has the benefit of reassuring them and predisposing them to sleep.

All these events that are linked in the lives of babies and young children do not serve to make them aware of time. There are still many years left for you to understand this abstract idea. However, from the first years children are able to understand that there are priorities in events. That helps them manage their expectations. A child does not understand the difference between seven o'clock in the afternoon and nine o'clock at night, but he is capable of assimilating that first we play, then we have dinner, then we take a bath and after the bath we always have to sleep.

Wait in the small things

As children grow, especially after the year when they acquire sufficient autonomy and their communication skills allow them to ask for what they want, we can begin to encourage their patience with small waits, sometimes forced, other intentional. For example, if they ask for a glass of water and are not on the verge of dehydration, we can request a waiting period from them. As they do not understand what "one moment" means, we must limit it clearly. For example, we will invite you to wait until we finish what we are doing. This way they will be able to visualize the moment in which they are going to be taken care of.

If we are constant in the customs, we will be inculcating habits that will fructify in the useful virtue of order. But to achieve this we must be consistent with the established criteria. If we have decided that television is only seen at a specific time of the day, it is important that we maintain that routine. Breaking it implies breaking, at the same time, the scheme of their schedules, in addition to the subjection to the norms.

This does not imply that we have to be squared in the strict fulfillment of each activity. There will be countless occasions that require getting out of the pre-established script: a visit from a relative, an illness, an unforeseen event, a trip ... The important thing in these cases is to try to return to the routine as soon as possible and put the emphasis on the cause of the exceptionality of the schedules. Although they are still small to reason, little by little they will understand under what circumstances certain behaviors are allowed.

Victoria Molina
Advice:Diego García Borreguero, president of the Spanish Sleep Society

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