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Teaching Young Children to Wait

10 blog avatar Teaching Young Children to Wait
Expert Name: Erin Lombard
Expert Title: Erin Lombard
Company Name:  Step by Step Academy
Company URL: www.stepbystepacademy.org
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.


Social Skills in Adolescence – ABA Literature Summary


Parent Waitlist Program


November 02, 2023 | 12pm-1pm PDT

Journey to Independence

Community-based program designed to support families on waitlist

Being an RBT for me was extremely fun because where were you going to find a place where you can be completely silly without having to worry what people thought about you? This was the only job that made me feel like I could make a dramatic difference while being myself.

I also liked to be surrounded by people that had the same goals of wanting to help kids and the teamwork made the job much easier and more enjoyable.

Change and progress was the ultimate goal for our kiddos. The early intervention program was seriously only a miracle because I saw changes in the kiddos that from day one, you wouldn’t even recognize who they were.

Changes from being able to utter 3-4 words where they can only make a syllable from when they started, the behavior decreases in which kiddo that used to engage in 30-40 0 self-harm to only half, learning how to wait during games, table work where they use to swipe and drop to the floor if they had to.

My favorite was when the parents would tell us what amazing progress they were making at home. I used to tear up and felt for these parents so much because it was already difficult for them and now, they can trust and rely on ABA and the therapists knowing their goal was ours.

By Emma Rogers, BA, RBT

Mother Child
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