Ultra-fast connections, deliveries in 24 hours, everything within reach of a smartphone: can today's children still wait? How can we teach them? Here are some tips for teaching children the value of waiting by Raffaele Mantegazza, teacher of Pedagogy at the Department of Medicine of the University of our city Bicocca.
In today's world, waiting is perceived as an annoying inconvenience, like an empty parenthesis before the satisfaction of a need. Better not to live it, in short. In this way, however, says Mantegazza, “we risk losing the dimension of deso, which needs waiting to get deeper. The wait is not empty, but it leads to the fulfillment of our deso. Otherwise, we are led on the one hand to the immediate gratification of trivial things, on the other hand to not have the patience to pursue larger desires that cost commitment such as social equity or justice, which even for adults are almost unattainable dreams. eternally postponed ».
It is difficult for children to find someone who is waiting with them: it is easier to put a device in their hand that gratifies small extemporaneous needs or distracts them, anesthetizing that sense of emptiness that could be perceived.
«In order to train for waiting, it is important to learn how to enjoy elements that anticipate gratification: the wait can be industrious and not passive if, for example, 2 weeks before leaving for the holidays you look with our children at the images of the place where you will go, then the map of the place, then more under date prepare the suitcase together … I am already ways to anticipate the pleasure of being away, to dream with them. It is no coincidence that the outward journeys are so pleasant, because you see the long-awaited destination approaching ».
Do you think that in life it is better not to have expectations? You are probably a little pessimistic, because you prefer to enjoy life less than risk suffering a little a few times. "Do not condemn your children to such a mediocre life, which in addition will not protect them from the bad things in life that will happen anyway."
Also because the expectation has to do with the emotional sphere, which «cannot be repressed if we want to raise healthy and complete adults. Instead, it is essential to rather learn a manage expectations, like any other emotion: to recognize that we want towards an experience or a person and perhaps to measure the degree of realism, which often determines the disappointment or the fulfillment of the expectation itself ".Read also: Performance anxiety: 7 practical tips
«The ability to wait and have expectations is linked to fantasizing and thinking - continues the professor - Not waiting means, in practice, not training yourself to think. Take for example the episodes of cyberbullying: the fact of being able to offend a person publicly in a second, does not make me ask the question of what they are doing and whether it is good or bad to humiliate them like this. Thought goes from intention to completion, from deso to completion without a moment's pause. The wait, on the other hand, often leads us down to milder advice. The dimension of thought is linked to that of responsibility ".
The dematerialization of money and e-commerce have also shortened the waiting time between deso and purchase: «It will have happened to everyone, at least once, to have bought instinctively and have thought about it 10 minutes later. The immediate online purchase does not make the value of money tangible, but there are ways to continue to make them perceive it ».
Ahead of a purchase, start filling with your child a piggy bank or a glass jar, which «the child will gradually see fill up and with it the achievement of the goal approaching: the wait is not empty, but exciting. Plus he learns that for that game you need money to accumulate, and this takes time and effort ».
Immediately satisfying a child's desire does not even help him reflect on how much he really cares about that object: "Talk to your child about why he wants it, let him express and fantasize about how he would like to use it. And then ask him to add it to the list of des for Santa Claus: in the end he will have to choose some by early December, and then he will have to wait to see the deso come true: that gift will be savored more. The not immediate fulfillment then makes that gift not due simply because it was requested: the deso was expressed some time before and time also makes you taste the sense of gratuitousness that must always be behind the idea of a gift ".
At any age there is a desire to burn the waiting times also for the fear of the unknown and the future. But with a little training, we can avoid transmitting our anxieties to children as well. Adults think the future is worse than the present much more than children: «Avoid phrases like" Oh, you will grow up and everything will be more difficult ... "or" it's over, you have to go back to school ". The wait with respect to going to school is also full of positive expectations of the children, but if the parents are the first to associate it with notes and homework, it will certainly not pass that it is a beautiful place to be desired ».
Even in parenting life there is the desire not to live in the present, but always wanting to anticipate everything and forge ahead: «In pregnancy, parents would already like to know what their child is like, they await the morphological with impatience. And after birth the expectations are on the steps of growth, "it should already be walking"; "How come he still doesn't speak well?". Expect it in its evolutionary tasks ».
Giving a gift voucher or money is more and more frequent: "Attention, because behind the" so he can choose what he wants "there is often both the fear of disappointing his expectations (and therefore giving up the good possibility of positively surprising him) and the difficulty in managing your waiting to find out if you have "got it right". In short, making a surprise trains the receiver's ability to wait, but also of the donor. But daring to anticipate her tastes with a gift speaks of the beauty of your being together and the depth of your relationship ".Read also: 8 UNREALISTIC expectations that parents have towards their children
"The the secret of education is wasting time, Rousseau used to say: often the best quality time with your children is when you don't do anything specific, when mothers talk to very young children all the time or when fathers spend 3 hours on the sofa repeating the same thing over and over again. I play with their son. Parents don't have to invent educational activities, but do "stupid" things and spend as much time as possible with their children: being with them is the most pedagogical thing they can do ».
Parents notice when something is wrong, they see that the child may have something to say to them: "But if you see him hesitating, have the courage to wait and don't bother him with questions: you would be just trying to shorten your expectation and curiosity, soothing your anxiety. If, on the other hand, he feels that you know how to wait, he will also feel your trust in him. Dialogue is linked to waiting for the other's times».Read also: The ideal parent? The one who devotes time and money to their children
"In younger children, the cuckoo makes it clear how much waiting actually pleases children and humans: when the face" disappears "they hold their breath and enjoy the thrill of waiting ready to burst into laughter when the mother or the father will reappear ».
"Board games and puzzles train patience because they are games to be prepared, static and with a slow pace in which to think about the move: in short, the fun does not only involve moving or impromptu games".
Equally, or perhaps more preparatory to knowing how to wait, are some movement games where there is no static setting to help children: "Hide and seek for example it is a great waiting game, even rather slow: it awaits those who are hidden, who first experience the thrill of not being discovered and then have to wait for the right moment to run towards the den; awaits those who are looking for others, who can see someone appear at any moment trying to save themselves. OR Free wizard, a racing game where, however, if they have been "caught" they must remain still waiting for someone to come and free them ».
A good children's book on the value of waiting is Uri Orlev's 'The Island in the Bird's Way'.
- children education
- time management