“Just a minute buddy, I need to______. Please be patient!”
Sound familiar? It all started around the time that my first son was approaching 18 months and I was approaching 9 months of pregnancy… makes for an interesting combination doesn’t it! I found myself asking him to be patient for a minute or two while I ran to get something, screwed the lid on his sippy cup, cleaned up a mess, battled with a screwdriver trying to replace batteries in a much loved toy, or went to the bathroom (ladies remember that at 9 months pregnant!) For some reason my son’s idea of “being patient” was never what I had in mind.
Also around that time, I was working with my first grade students (all of whom were refugees, and in their first year of learning English) when in the matter of 15 minutes I had a two students throw up, one with a bloody nose, and someone pee their pants! After it was all over, and I was giving them “the speech” about being patient when problems arise, one my students asked me, “Teacher, what does patient mean, what does it look like?”
At that moment, I realized how abstract “patient” was to kids; let alone an 18 month old toddler. From then on I made clear what being “patient” looked like for my students and for my son. For my students, patient looked like this: hands together, eyes were on the teacher, feet or legs were still, and mouth was quiet. For my son, patient looks like this: mouth is quiet, and hands are together.
His “patient” look! Please note that I did have to take this picture because I could not find any other pictures of him being patient! Haha!
Now, when we are at home and the phone rings right as he is waiting for me to get a drink for him or pull out a puzzle and I ask him to be patient for a minute, he knows what I am asking! (He even let dad know what patient means. One day, my husband was picking him up from Sunday school and he was going to walk with him, holding his hand. Our son decided that he didn’t want to walk that way, so he looked up at dad and said, ‘No dad, I want to be patient!’ as he folded his hands and continued walking without holding his dad’s hand.)
Our definitions of patient are the now same! He’s still a toddler, and I’m still a mom who runs out of patience myself; but realizing concepts that are abstract to toddlers and kids can really improve your communication!
Here are a few other words that I found that needed “pictures” in our family:
(*Yes, some of those are verbs but trust me, as you know, parts of speech mean nothing to a toddler! Even if you’re parents are BOTH English teachers!) What are words that have needed “pictures” in your family?