Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Learning to Wait
Here is a game that will help your child learn to wait.
Part 1: Teach the concept of waiting. Start the game by putting your child up on something that he or she can jump off from and hold hands. Say wait.....wait....wait....ready set jump! You want to play the game this way until your child understands to wait--in other words you are not needing to hold your child's hands to keep him or her from jumping. Vary the number of times you say wait. Note: If jumping off of something is not the right base activity for your child, teach the game with something else like running, squirting water from a bottle, knocking blocks off a shelf.
Part 2: Teach independence. Now, start using the sign for wait, which is holding both hands out in front of you, palms up, and wiggle all ten fingers. Only say wait a couple of times before saying jump. Teach your child to wait while you say wait and jump when you say jump. Be patient and just say, Uh Oh! Try again! if he or she jumps too soon. Don't scold--it is easy for scolding to become part of the pattern and you don't want your child jumping too soon in order to hear you scolding.
Part 3: Generalize the skill of waiting. Play this game while doing all kinds of things like, Wait....wait....wait...wait...stand up! Wait...wait...sit down! Wait.....wait.....wait....wait....wait...wait...open car door! Wait..wait...turn car on! and so on until your child understands that all actions can be delayed until you say it is time. Play the game happily and don't expect your child to wait long if it will be too hard--gradually help your child learn to wait longer and longer. Smile and clap if he or she waits successfully.
Part 4: Vary the game: Now you are going to teach a different version of the game. This version is good for kids that can count. Say Wait two! and hold up two fingers. Then count One....two....jump! vary the number and gradually get your child to count with you. After your child can wait while you count together, let your child count alone! Hold up the correct number of fingers and put your fingers down, one at a time as your count.
Part 5: Teach independence: Say Wait ten. You count! Turn your back now while your child counts and then turn around when he or she gets to the right number. You may even want to teach your child to wait while you go to a different room and come back but you might need another adult to help your child keep waiting until you get back.
Part 6: Generalize the Count with Numbers Version: Use this version in many places, while engaged in many activities and keep encouraging independence by helping your child wait & count while you do other short tasks.