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How to Be a Patient Parent

Updated on August 20, 2016
ThePracticalMommy profile image

Marissa is the writer of ThePracticalMommy and the blog Mommy Knows What's Best. She is a stay-at-home mom to four and was a teacher.

Patience is a Virtue

Patience is a virtue (From a proverb)
Patience is a virtue (From a proverb) | Source

How to Be a Patient Parent

If you have kids, you know that your kids can test your limits on a daily basis with minimal effort. How can you be a patient parent without losing your cool during these times? What are some ways to calm down after a moment or two of impatience?

Learn what can cause a parent to lose patience and how to be a patient parent.

Learning to Be a Patient Parent

Part of learning to be patient is knowing what sets you off as a parent. There are several things that can cause a parent to lose patience very easily:

  • Sleep deprivation. You know if you’re tired, there’s greater potential for your nerves to be very sensitive to any stimuli. Remember those days after you brought your baby home? Parents tend to be more sleep deprived in their child’s early years when the child does not have a steady sleep schedule, causing them to lose their patience very easily.
  • Hunger. Skipped breakfast and feel like you want to punch the wall? Blame hunger. Without food, you tend to be very impatient. Why? Serotonin, the chemical in our brains associated with regulating mood, dips low when we are angry (source: Is Hunger Making You Angry?).
  • Lack of preparation. This can be taken in two ways: lack of parenting preparation or lack of preparation for events. For parents who have not had any parenting education of sorts — books, videos online, classes, exposure to kids, etc.--being patient with kids of any age can be difficult due to not knowing how to handle certain situations. For parents who fail to be prepared for events or occasions—trip to the store, doctor’s visit, cabin fever, parties, long trip in the car — being patient with kids can be difficult when they don’t have enough snacks, didn’t let the kids take naps, forgot the diaper bag, or forgot anything that might make the day a bit easier.
  • Illness. When you’re sick, you need rest and relaxation, but is that really easy as a parent? Many parents have to take care of their kids while also taking care of a cold or stomach virus. Who is able to be patient then? Not many people, especially those who may be dealing with a chronic illness.
  • Lack of support. When you’re without the help of another adult and on your own with your kids, it can be very easy to lose patience. You may feel overwhelmed and not know how to change matters for the better without help from another parent or adult.

Sleep Issues

How much sleep do you get as a parent?

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Quote about Patience

Quote from the Serenity Prayer
Quote from the Serenity Prayer | Source

Did You Know?

Whining can be the most annoying sound in the world. Studies have been done where participants were exposed to various loud sounds while trying to complete tasks. Of all the sounds, whining was the most annoying to deal with. Yikes! Imagine all of the whining parents hear in one day...

How to Patiently Handle a Whining Child

How to Be a More Patient Parent

There are several things you can do to be more patient as a parent:

• Get enough rest. Being sleep deprived definitely can cause you to have a short fuse, so try to get enough rest to keep yourself feeling refreshed. At night, you should be getting about 6-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Unable to get uninterrupted sleep or that many hours of sleep at night? Try to take a nap during the day or find time to sit down and rest for 10-20 minutes. By feeling rested, you give yourself the chance to react in a more positive manner.

Take care of yourself and your health. Do you want to feel good and be able to react positively in situations? Take care of your health. Eat when it is necessary to prevent hunger, and eat healthy foods. Not a breakfast fan? Have a small piece of fruit or a fruit/veggie smoothie. Drink enough water to keep yourself hydrated as well. By drinking enough water, you can prevent unnecessary headaches and help your body to function properly, which will make you feel better.

Be prepared for anything. I know it isn’t always possible, but try to be prepared for anything. If you are new to parenting, find another parent, or some quality parenting books or websites to answer any questions you may have. Observe other parents when you’re out in public to see how they react to their children in various situations.

When at home with a baby or young children, have all of the essentials that will help you get through the day close at hand: food, clean bottles or cups, diapers, wipes, extra clothes, cleaning supplies, etc. If you are going to bring your children in public, bring the essentials with you. Keep a diaper bag stocked and by the door for when you need to run out of the house unexpectedly.

When you have school aged children at home, keep supplies at home for school projects or papers. Find out when games, school concerts, or club meetings are and make a family schedule/calendar.

Find a support network or resources. It makes such a difference to have help when you need it. If you are married or have a significant other, connect with him/her and talk about how you can work on parenting issues together. It’s worth it to be on the same page when it comes to parenting styles and dealing with the kids. It also helps if he/she can provide you some relief when you have been overwhelmed with the kids all day and need a break.

Have older children? Have them help you with daily chores to lighten your load. Often, simply doing the dishes, keeping their rooms tidy, and cleaning up after themselves can make all the difference.

If you do not have such help, find other adults to whom you can connect when you need help. Grandparents are often more than willing to help, as are your kids’ aunts and uncles. If you don’t live near your family, find other parents in the area with whom you can make connections and ask for help when it’s needed.

Be Patient: Kids Will Be Kids!

He can't help being a kid!
He can't help being a kid! | Source

What Makes You Lose Your Patience as a Parent?

What makes you lose your patience?

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Preventing Impatience and Anger

Set clear expectations! If your kids don't know what your rules are, how can you blame them if they 'break' the rules? Or if you need them to get ready to leave the house, how can you blame them for not knowing what steps to take?

Be very clear about what you want from your kids. Remind them verbally of the rules before the rules are broken. Remind them of the steps they must take before completing a task or getting ready to leave the house. It will save both you and them a lot of aggravation.

More Ways to Be a Patient Parent

Here are a few ways to be more patient when dealing with kids:

♥ Remember they are only kids. It may be hard to remember sometimes, but your children are only kids. They are still in the learning stages of life, learning how to interact with others, learning how to verbalize their wants and needs, learning where their boundaries are. They may be limited in certain areas of life that you as an adult have mastered, which some adults fail to understand. A toddler may scream, hit, or bite because he/she can’t express the words needed to show frustration. A preschooler may whine because he/she doesn’t know how to properly ask for what they want. A teenager may stay out past curfew because he/she wants to see where you stand with your discipline. In any situation, kids are really only being kids.

What can you do as a parent in these situations? The best thing to do is to redirect the behavior and teach your child how to properly behave. The lesson may not be learned immediately, but if you are consistent, your child will eventually learn how to act and interact.

♥ Give them attention. Kids who are starved for attention are more likely to cause trouble than those whose parents pay attention to them. Does this mean your eyes have to be on your kids constantly? No, but it wouldn't hurt to put down the TV remote or your mobile device once in a while and play a game with them or read a book with them. Giving them enough attention helps to prevent whining and other sorts of mischief kids will use to get your attention.

♥ Use "I" statements. When talking to your kids, especially when you are disciplining them, it is beneficial to use "I" statements rather than "You" statements. Why? It takes pressure off of the person with whom you're speaking , making them see that what they're doing has an effect on others as well without needing to talk back or be defensive.

Example: "Harry, you make me so angry when you throw your toys at the wall! " (All pressure is on the child, who most likely hears "You, you, you").


"Harry, I feel upset when you throw your toys at the wall." (Taking ownership of the feeling gives the child a chance to see how his negative action hurts others. It also gives you the chance to voice how you feel, which is healthy for you).

♥ Whisper when you want them to hear you. If you really want to get the attention of a child, get down to their eye level and whisper what you want them to hear. Doing that forces them to look at you and focus on your voice so they can hear you. Yelling at them often makes them tune out, which can make you even more angry. Getting down to their level ensures that they can hear you and will listen to what you have to say.

♥ Provide a change of environment for everyone. Sometimes just changing rooms in the house or even getting out of the house is what everyone in the family needs. If the kids seem to be getting bored with what they're doing or they can't seem to stop fighting with each other, move them to the kitchen where they can do a craft on the table, or take them out for a walk to the park or shopping. A change of environment can boost the mood of the family and prevent loss of patience.

♥ Encourage naptime. Sometimes, everyone needs a rest in the house. Have a time during the day when everyone goes to their rooms and rests for a set amount of time. Not only is it healthy for little ones who need naps to grow, it helps everyone regain a sense of peace in the middle of a busy day.

Parents Need a Break Sometimes


Ways for Parents to Calm Down

It happens; losing patience is a natural part of parenting. It’s what you do as you lose your patience or after you lose your patience that matters.

Here are some things you can do to calm down after losing your patience:

♦ Take deep breaths. A simple way to relax after losing your patience is to step away from the situation and take a few cleansing breaths. Inhale for 4-6 seconds, exhale for 4-6 seconds. Once you feel like you have control over your emotions you can go back to the situation and take care of things in a positive manner.

Countdown from 10. Another common technique to help a person calm down is to countdown from 10. Again, step away from the situation and slowly countdown from 10 or any number you choose. The counting out loud forces you to breathe in and out, which can relax you.

Take a parent time-out. Sometimes you just need to get away from the situation. If you’re alone, put the kids in a safe environment and go to a different room for a few minutes. Close your eyes and just rest for few minutes. Think of a place where you would want to be and focus on that place. Read a devotional or a book of inspirational quotes. Do what ever you would do to relax for a few minutes, and then return to the situation when you feel you’re ready.

♦ Ask for help. Don’t ever be afraid to ask for help. If you need help with the kids, your house, your finances, or anything that makes you lose your patience, get it. Talk to your spouse, family, friends, or agencies who can help you sort things out.

Be a Patient Parent

Being a patient parent isn't always easy, but it is so beneficial for your health and your mental well-being. Take the tips above and use them as part of your parenting style. You and your family will be grateful you did.



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    • ThePracticalMommy profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from United States

      laurie damrose, it definitely helps to have a day to day plan and plenty of sleep. Thanks for reading and commenting!

    • profile image

      laurie damrose 

      6 years ago

      i am the proud mom of two teens,one has has Asperbergers.They both have their individual challenges and the key to being patient is to have a plan day by day.Also get a lot of sleep.

    • ThePracticalMommy profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from United States

      slappywalker, I'm glad you enjoyed the hub, and I hope the tips help! Thanks for reading and commenting!

    • slappywalker profile image

      Kieron Walker 

      6 years ago from Saratoga Springs, NY

      I really enjoyed this hub. My daughter is five and I love her to death, but we have our moments where we go at each other. It's almost comedic afterwards because neither one of us wants to give up the last word.

      Your suggestions to get more sleep, give them attention, and to take parent timeouts have worked for me in the past and I look forward to trying some of your other ones in the near future.

    • ThePracticalMommy profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from United States

      tillsontitan, thank you very much for your supportive feedback! It's so true; at some point, probably more than once, all parents get to a point where they feel like they're going to explode. I know with two little ones at home, it can happen quite often, but if the parents are prepared with ways to cope with impatience, angry conflicts can be avoided.

      Thanks again for reading and commenting! I really appreciate it. :D

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 

      7 years ago from New York

      I think all new parents should read this. They always think it's never going to happen to me, but we all know it will at some point. I love the whispering suggestion and going into another room. THE most important is support, from your spouse or another adult.

      Voted up, interesting and useful.

    • ThePracticalMommy profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from United States

      GoodLady, I use the 'changing the room' tip myself quite often. Sometimes, you just need a new perspective to feel refreshed!

      Thanks for reading and commenting! :)

    • GoodLady profile image

      Penelope Hart 

      7 years ago from Rome, Italy

      Love it. Taking that break, changing the room you are i n -all those tips are just so incredibly helpful. Wish I'd had them when I was Mom.

    • ThePracticalMommy profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from United States

      Just Ask Susan, the whispering does work very well, especially when you need to have their apt attention! Thanks for reading and commenting! :)

    • ThePracticalMommy profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from United States

      Beth100, I'm the same way: I feel like I can lose my patience over sleep deprivation, noise, and whining, but I'm very calm in any other situation! :D

      Yes, whispering at kids does work wonders when you want to get their attention. I'm glad you do the same!

      Thank you very much for reading and commenting!

    • ThePracticalMommy profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from United States

      angela_michelle, thank you for your kind words! :)

    • ThePracticalMommy profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from United States

      gracekeys, it does help so much to just get up and go sometimes. I'm glad you have the same ideas as I do! Thanks so much for reading and commenting!

    • ThePracticalMommy profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from United States

      twinstimes2, I bet you know that whining is the most annoying sound in the world! ;) Thanks for reading and commenting!

    • ThePracticalMommy profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from United States

      Phoebe Pike, I'm glad you liked the advice. Thanks for reading!

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 

      7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Great tips and advice. I especially liked "Whisper when you want them to hear you"

    • Beth100 profile image


      7 years ago from Canada

      I have to smile as I read this because I have experienced every one that you have listed. :D Sleep deprivation, whining, high and consistent level of noise will drive me to lose my calm. Other than that, the house could fall apart and I'd still be calm. lol

      All your advice is excellent and spot on. These are great reminders for the time when I lose my patience (and whispering to them really does work!!) :)

      Thank you for the gentle reminder!

    • angela_michelle profile image

      Angela Michelle Schultz 

      7 years ago from United States

      This is a very awesome article! Very good advice. Amazing job!

    • gracekeys profile image


      7 years ago from Newcastle, WA

      Good to know - I followed your advice in advance last night! Since their dad has been out of town this week, the day was exhausting and very long. Since the weather was nice here in Seattle, we got in the car and went to the park. Worked wonders!

    • twinstimes2 profile image

      Karen Lackey 

      7 years ago from Ohio

      Great job and yes, I do know that whining is the most annoying sound in the world! :) Well written!

    • profile image

      Phoebe Pike 

      7 years ago

      This has a lot of good advice. Well done!

    • ThePracticalMommy profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from United States

      teaches12345, rest is so important for parents! I know after my sleepless night last night I'll be napping for a bit while the kids nap today. ;)

      I actually used to use the whispering technique while teaching. Worked wonders with the teenagers, so I now use it with the toddlers!

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      7 years ago

      Woonderful advice for parents to follow. I think that rest is really important in being able to cope with the many acitivities and needs that children will present on a daily basis. I love your whisper to get their attention idea. That is really much better than yelling. Voted up.


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