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Teaching Kids to Wait Well

  • March 14, 2021
  • By Donielle
Teaching Kids to Wait Well

Wait for the Lord.  Be strong and don’t lose hope.  Wait for the Lord.  Psalm 27:14

Lindsey Brigham Knott’s article Good Things Come got me thinking about some tough things. She points out that when we think of patience, we tend to think of discomfort. It is the least favorite of the virtues.  It feels like a denial of happiness, fun, or the life we imagine for ourselves.  But God doesn’t see it that way. 

His Word, in 1 Corinthians 13, begins the whole definition of love with patience.  “Love is patient.” David Baily Harned says in PatienceHow We Wait Upon the World that, “The decision to wait is one of the great human acts.” That is a beautiful and though-provoking statement.

I want it now!

We dwell in a culture of immediate gratification, despite the fact that patience is a fruit of the Spirit, evidence that we belong to Jesus. I talked several months ago about how we no longer require our children to wait for anything – for a phone, to date, for a piecing.  Well, parents don’t have to wait either.  Information is at our fingertips.  We no longer rack our brains – a great mental exercise, by the way – to remember where we saw that actor before, to remember what year that song came out.  Google it! Ask Alexa!

Waiting to get married, waiting in line at the store, waiting for healing, waiting for a restored relationship, a good meal, or an anticipated movie to come out- What if patience is the place in which we love God and our neighbor?  What if that waiting is the place God wants us to dwell?  What if God wants us to embrace waiting?  This is an active waiting.  How do we teach our kids to wait well? They need to become who they want to be – who they were made to be, while they wait. And they need to be serving others while they wait! Change the focus.

Waiting to date

Waiting to date is an awesome opportunity to wait well. And I have some great resources that help you explain to your kids why they should wait – in a really fun, not guilt trip way. First of all, we wait WAY TOO late to start talking to our kids about dating.  It must begin when they are little.  Before they start school, they need to know that dating is for deciding who to marry, and it is for grown ups, not kids. And just so you know, I don’t recommend waiting to date because your kids are not amazing, obedient, well-trained, and reasonable. It is because their brains are not fully developed. That impulse control portion has a long way to go!

Two awesome authors, Dannah Gresh and Jackie Kendall, are experts in the benefits of waiting. See their books in the resources listed below. This is an active waiting they describe.  Our kids will have to wait for the right person, sometimes a painfully long time, and God expects a missional waiting, looking outside of ourselves to do something.

Waiting on who?

Notice our verse doesn’t say, “Just wait.  It says ‘Wait on the Lord’.”  Waiting is good. Waiting on the Lord is better.  We must teach our kids that waiting dependently on God’s timing keeps them from becoming manipulators.   Run through this mental exercise: What if God answered me immediately?  What if I never had to wait for anything I asked of him?  Who would actually be in control?  Sounds more like the plot of Aladdin than a relationship with a loving Creator.  Do you have God’s wisdom to know the perfect timing for everything in your life, which spills over into the lives of many others?

What if learning patience, sitting in the waiting rooms of life is where life actually happens?  Make the most of it.  Wait on the Lord, where there is no anxiety, where your strength is renewed.


Moms of small children, in Dannah Gresh’s book Six Ways to Keep the Little in your Girl, she explains that preserving the innocence of your girls is encouraging them to play with dolls, dress up, and role play, among other fun things.  Moms of boys, Dannah Gresh wrote Six Ways to Keep the “Good” in Your Boy.  And what do think is the first way to keep the good in your good boy?   Make him go outside to play!  Dannah explains both the theology and the psychology for all of her six reasons. 

I actually first came across Dannah Gresh’s research and work when I started the really fun Secret Keeper Girl series.  You take your tween daughter on eight exciting dates where an activity opens up discussion of important topics like how to have a friendship with a boy, what to do with mean girls, how do boys think differently than girls, and how to care for your changing body.

929790: Six Ways to Keep the Little in Your GirlSix Ways to Keep the Little in Your Girl

Another great resource are the Lady in Waiting books, where Jackie Kendall in her humorous way, shares things you may not even have thought about like, men who have to wait until they get married for sex are far more likely to be faithful within marriage.  Why is that?  It seems that practice makes perfect.  Waiting is exercising a psychological sort of muscle that they need to develop to for a monogamous marriage. 

Love is patient

Make sure your daughter knows, well before she has the opportunity to have a boyfriend, that waiting will help this guy she is in love with.  That it is God’s will for him.  Make sure your son understands that waiting, doing what is best for this young lady he is attracted to, is expressing real love for her – waiting obviously to have an intimate relationship, but waiting to date, too, until there is an actual chance to get married down the road.  The Right Guy for the Right Girl is her book for young men, teaching them how to become the right guy for her, by living like a Son of the King.

423104: Lady in Waiting: Becoming God"s Best While Waiting for Mr. Right, Expanded EditionLady in Waiting: Becoming God’s Best While Waiting for Mr. Right, Expanded Edition
By Jackie Kendall & Debby Jones / Destiny Image

A portion of this article was published in MOMs magazine, March 2021. This post contains affiliate links.

By Donielle, March 14, 2021
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