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Low toddler patience. Learning the importance of waiting

Written by: Ms. Ng Ka Chun, Former Principal of Lok Sin Tong Leung Wong Wai Fong Memorial School 


Young children always have low patience and have difficulty tolerating & waiting. Self-control is a comprehensive ability of an individual to properly control and regulate his or her behavior without external supervision, to suppress impulses, and persevere to ensure the achievement of goals. It is an important component in the construction of self-awareness and is an important psychological quality for the success of an individual.


Waiting is the mark of a child’s success

In the 1960s, the American psychologist Professor Michel conducted a fudge experiment. He took a group of children aged about four to a modestly furnished house and gave them each a very tasty piece of fudge, telling them that if they ate the fudge right away, they could only eat one; if they ate it again after 20 minutes, they would be rewarded with one more piece of fudge, and they could eat two pieces of fudge in total. After Michelle left, some children were eager to eat the candy, while others were patient, closed their eyes, or rested their heads on their arms as sleep; some children talked to themselves or sang to divert their attention and spent time restraining their desire. Through observation, Michelle found that one-third of the children ate the candy immediately, one-third of the children waited for Michelle to come back and redeem the extra reward before they started to eat, and another one-third of the children insisted at first, but then could not resist giving up waiting.

Michel continued to follow the children who participated in the experiment until they graduated from high school. The results of the follow-up study showed that the children who started eating candy right away showed a lack of confidence and did not get along well with their peers as teenagers, while those who waited until the end to eat candy were socially competent, assertive and academically successful. The “waiters” scored an average of 210 points higher on the test than the “non-waiters”. The actual results show that those children who could wait had a much higher success rate than those who could not wait.


In the above experiment, Michel introduced the concept of “delayed gratification” – the ability to wait is the ability to delay gratification, and children with delayed gratification are more likely to succeed as adults.


Let babies learn to wait a while

Patience is not something children are born with, but it can be mastered through learning. Before a child can learn patience, he or she must have the “ability to measure and understand time” and the “ability to understand cause and effect” before we can develop the ability to tolerate frustration and delay gratification.

Infants from zero to 18 months of age have only two or three minutes of patience. Even so, newborns must be taught to wait a while, and encouraging patience begins with simply telling them. When he hears your words, he will begin to think about what will come later, so parents can prepare their baby for his needs while describing in words what you have prepared for him. When a few months old baby hears you, he will stop fretting as a sign that he understands what you are saying, because language is linked to cause-and-effect thinking, so it helps babies learn to delay gratification.

幼兒耐性低 學習等待的重要





20 世紀 60 年代美國心理學家米歇爾教授進行了一個軟糖實驗。他把一群年約4 歲的孩子帶到一間陳設簡陋的房子,然後給他們每人一顆非常好吃的軟糖,同時告訴他們,如果馬上吃軟糖,就只能吃一顆;如果 20 分鐘後再吃,將獎勵多一顆軟糖,總共可以吃到兩顆軟糖。在米歇爾離開後,有些孩子已急不及待把糖吃掉;而另一些孩子則耐住性子、閉上眼睛或頭枕雙臂作睡覺狀;也有孩子用自言自語或唱歌來轉移注意,消磨時光以克制自己的欲望。通過觀察,米歇爾發現有三分一的孩子馬上吃糖果,有三分一的孩子則一直等米歇爾回來,兌現額外獎勵後才開始吃,另外三分一的孩子一開始堅持,但後來卻忍耐不住放棄了等待。

米歇爾繼續追蹤研究參加這個實驗的孩子們,直到他們高中畢業。追蹤研究的結果顯示,當年馬上開始吃糖的孩子在青少年時期表現得缺乏自信,與同齡者相處不好;等到最後才吃糖果的孩子則交際能力強、有主見且學業出眾。「等待者」較「不等待者」的考試成績平均高出 210 分。實際結果說明,能等待的那些孩子,其成功率遠遠高於那些不能等待的孩子。


就上述實驗,米歇爾提出了「延遲滿足」這個概念 ─ 能夠堅持等待就是能夠延遲滿足,具有延遲滿足能力的孩子在成人後較容易獲得成功。




零至 18 個月的嬰兒只有兩三分鐘的忍耐力。即使如此,我們也必須讓新生嬰兒學會等待一會兒,鼓勵嬰兒忍耐是從簡單地告訴他開始的。當他聽到您的說話,他就會開始考慮稍後將出現甚麼,因此父母可以一方面為嬰兒預備他的需要,一方面用說話描述您為他預備了甚麼。當幾個月大的嬰兒聽到您的說話,他便會停止煩躁以此表明他已經懂得你的說話,因為語言聯繫著因果思維,所以它幫助嬰兒學會延遲滿足。

Parents Zone

What should we do if a child is having a tantrum?

Written by:Dr. Hui Lung Kit, Psychiatry Specialist

Many parents have had the experience of taking their children out to play, and the family was in a happy mood and the children were having a good time. But suddenly, the child makes some unreasonable requests (such as seeing a toy to buy), and the parent does not allow it, the child immediately changes his face and cries. When the parent reprimands the child, the child becomes more aggressive, not only crying louder, but also having a tantrum fiercely and stomping on the ground, attracting the attention of passers-by (who may even suspect that you are abusing the child). Parents have no choice but to do their utmost to soothe the child, or even raise their hands in surrender and buy the child a toy in the hope of calming the storm. In the end, once the child has succeeded in his request, he would turn tears into laughter even when the toy is still not received. The previous crying is gone and makes parents unable to laugh or cry.

However, have parents ever noticed that if the number of times of “compromise due to pressure” increases, the number of children’s cries will increase instead of decrease? This is due to a psychological phenomenon – “Positive Reinforcement” consequence. Positive Reinforcement” means that when a behavior occurs, if a reward is given immediately, the behavior will occur again. The more the reward, the higher the chance that the behavior will be repeated.

To apply the example to the child, if the child cries a lot, if the adult satisfies his unreasonable request (such as buying a toy) when he is most agitated, this is a reward for his crying behavior, and in the future, when the child has other unreasonable requests, he will be more inclined to use the crying method to achieve his goal. In addition, children generally want to be loved and cared for by their parents. If parents usually ignore them, but the child cries, the parents will immediately become very nervous because even scolding is a form of attention, and over time, children will tend to cry as a means of attracting their parents’ attention.

Therefore, the first and foremost thing parents should do to properly handle their children’s crying is to maintain a gentle attitude, but at the same time, they should stick to their principles and not compromise easily, especially not to finally give in and meet demands just because the child continues to cry. If parents cannot control the situation, they can try to reduce their attention to the child, such as removing eye contact, being expressionless, or not talking to the child. In addition, if the crying occurs at home, parents can take the child to a quiet corner, cut off all attention to the child, let the child calm down, and then slowly explain to him what the problem is.



小朋友扭計瞓地 要如何處理?



可是,家長有沒有留意,假如這些「因扭計壓力而妥協」的情況出現的次數愈多,小朋友的哭鬧次數卻會不減反增?這是由於一個心理學現象 - 正向增強現象」(Positive Reinforcement) 的後果。所謂正向增強現象」,意思是當對方出現一個行為之後,假如即時給予對方獎勵,那個行為便會再次出現。當獎勵愈多,行為重複出現的機會也愈高。




Parents Zone Parents Zone

Having breakfast makes you smarter. What breakfast can “wake up our brain and morning “?

Parents Zone

November 2022

Written By: Founder of Kat-Spirit Nutrition Centre 

Senior Nutritionist Ng Yiu Fun

The school year has started, did the children have breakfast before school? Many children have different reasons for not eating breakfast, but parents should pay attention to the fact that breakfast has a great impact on the growth of children!

Earlier, a study by the Chinese University of Hong Kong showed that breakfast has a significant impact on the academic performance of students. Students who have the habit of eating breakfast every day, test scores are more than 5 points higher than the average student who did not eat breakfast. Why does breakfast make us smarter?

Because the brain needs blood sugar for nutrient absorption and consumption, but when our body sleeps all night without food, the body has consumed our blood sugar for the whole day. Therefore, we need to eat breakfast to replenish blood sugar, so that our response becomes faster. Parents may ask, “What is the best breakfast for children?

What breakfast can “wake up our brain and morning”?

1. Starchy food

This includes porridge, flour, noodles, rice, bread and biscuits, so we can eat a sandwich, a bowl of macaroni or rice flour as well; even drinking milk, eating oatmeal or corn flakes is fine

2.Protein supplement

Since protein itself can make us react faster, for example, shredded chicken is rich in protein, so for breakfast, you can choose a bowl of rice noodles in shredded chicken soup or macaroni in shredded chicken soup, or have an egg sandwich with cheese, which can also help us replenish our needs for the day. So all parents remember to remind children to eat breakfast before going to school!

食早餐較聰明 甚麼早餐可以「醒腦醒晨」?


November 2022


   資深營養師 吳耀芬





1. 澱粉質的食物



2. 補充蛋白質