It Takes Skill to Wait

What You Need:

  • The Time Is... worksheet
  • Images of a child waiting
  • Analog wall clock that can be taken apart
  • Paints, markers, or crayons


What You Do:

  1. Show your child two images of a child waiting, and ask what they notice and wonder.
  2. Ask, "What is it like to wait for something? Is it hard? Is it easy? Does it depend on what you are waiting for?"
  3. Explain that mindfulness means purposefully paying attention to the present moment, with kindness and curiosity. Mindfulness can help us when we are waiting, because we can bring kind, curious attention to our feelings of boredom or annoyance.
  4. Ask your child to sit up nice and tall, take a few deep breaths, and relax their hands and shoulders.
  5. Tell them to close their eyes (or look down) and imagine that they are in their favorite store. Have them imagine that they see something they love and want to buy.
  6. Ask them to notice how this feels for them in their body.
  7. Now, tell your child to imagine that they do not have the money to buy this item, and that they will have to wait. Ask if they notice a tightness in their belly or shoulders.
  8. Have them take a few deep breaths and feel into their body. Ask them to name the emotion they feel, such as "sadness" or "annoyance." They may also label their emotion in their mind.
  9. Explain to your child that right now, they are using their mindfulness to bring kind attention to feelings in their body from waiting.
  10. Tell them to take a few deep breaths and gently open their eyes when they are ready.
  11. Ask them what they noticed and how they feel.
  12. Explain that mindfulness can't change our circumstances, such as not being able to buy an item. However, mindfulness can give us the tools to feel more calm by bringing kind attention to how we feel about our circumstances.
  13. Mention that over time and with practice, patience can be strengthened when we want or do not want something.
  14. Ask your child what is one word that may remind them of the skill of mindfulness while waiting (e.g. patience, kindness, mindfulness).
  15. Explain to them that they will design the face of a clock with this word. The word will replace each number on the clock to serve as a reminder of mindfulness and patience.
  16. Review the instructions on The Time Is... worksheet, and work together to complete the activity.

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