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Erin Lombard
Expert Name: Erin Lombard
Expert Title: Erin Lombard
Company Name:  Step by Step Academy
Company URL:
Short Bio: Erin Lombard is a Board Certified Bahavior Analyst and a certified Special Education educator currently teaching graduate level Positive Bahavior Support courses at Northern Arizona University. She holds an undergraduate degree in Child and Adolescent Studies and a master’s degree in Special Education obtained in California State University and University of North Texas respectively. She is currently working on her Ph.D. in Psychology at Capella University.

Teaching Young Children to Wait

Children are naturally impatient. When children want something, they want it NOW! Unfortunately, children rarely can get what they want immediately, and therefore must learn to wait. The following outlines how to teach your young child to wait:

•    Begin teaching “Wait” in isolated, controlled situations. While playing with your child and he indicate he wants the toy, say “Wait” and count out loud to 5. Then give your child the toy.

•    When your child begins to understand the concept of waiting by simply waiting for the toy, increase the waiting interval to 10 seconds. Continue to count out loud.

•    Next, stop counting out loud, but indicate that your child is still waiting. You can nod your head, or hold up fingers as you count silently in your head.

•    Now, slowly increase the interval. 15 seconds, then 20 seconds, then 30 seconds, then 45 seconds.

•    When your child is ready to wait for 1 minute, start using a timer. Tell your child to “wait”, and then set the timer for the appropriate interval.

•    When your child is successfully waiting for at least one minute in contrived situations, start using the timer when asking your child to wait in natural situations. For example, when you are on the phone, ask your child to wait and set the timer for one minute.

•    Keep practicing waiting with the timer and slowly increase the interval of time to wait.