Aha, look what's trending - children having to wait a minute to receive their candy! As I see many videos of this waiting task I cannot help but code the behavioral strategies children use to wait, call it my psych nerdiness or simply what I do for a living. What's fascinating to me is the actual waiting game. How exactly are children waiting? What do they do while they wait for candy? There's been a range of funny behaviors of children waiting. But before I delve into the waiting behaviors of these adorable children, first let me tell you what exactly is going on in these videos.
The waiting task is about how children restrain themselves from getting what they want (i.e candy) using certain behaviors. There are three things that must happen for the waiting task to be valid. First, child must understand the activity. They are to wait until mommy comes back before having the candy, which must be fully comprehended. Secondly, they should be engaged without any distraction like TV, games, or any of that sort, meaning they should show undivided interest in wanting the candy. Without these factors, you cannot have a well-done baby waiting task.
Watching these kiddos wait for their treat makes me wonder if I would have been able to do same at their age. But more so, if I would be able to do so even now! lol.
What is fascinating is the behavioral strategies these children use in waiting. I think it's rather clever just how they wait. I see some smart ones who start singing, counting numbers, or telling stores to themselves while they wait. How fun. And then we have the kids that crack me up, these ones smell the candy to imagine savoring it's taste in anticipation. Or, the hilarious ones that put the candy in their mouths to taste and then put it back down until mommy returns. I mean, these chipmunks can be wild, love it!
Failed baby waiting task
There are the failed waiting game set up where the kids are distracted by TV or other things while they wait. This already defeats the purpose. I mean, of course, they're gonna wait just by watching TV or fidgeting with a book or crayon. If you want to do the baby waiting task make sure to do it properly. No distractions, and a fully engaged child. All games played should be played fair and square right? Now let the games begin!
THE RETURN. Alas moms return is filled with shrills of excitement and joy from the agony of child's waiting. Sometimes moms return is filed with child's questioning, for example "why did you take so long?" or "I was waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting for you to return" or the best of them "you took forever, mom!" The last is so true. Two whole minutes is a long time to have to wait for my favorite candy sitting right in front of me. I can already smell it, and almost taste it, and I really don't have any real life issues to think about to kill time while I wait because I'm just what, three, four, five years old? Please mommyyy don't torture me :(
How long should my child wait?
Waiting time differs by age. The younger a child is, the less time they should wait. To help set-up your young toddler for success in this game, keep wait time at a maximum of 30-45 seconds. The older kids could go up to two minutes if you dare :) Basically you want your child to succeed so you can start building positive healthy relationship with them.
Why children wait or don't wait is a whole topic of interest that requires another post. Importantly, giving your word to your child and fulfilling that promise is a sure way to build trust and security in a parent-child relationship. They waited (their part) and they got candy (your part). The next time you ask them to wait to go outside until after nap time, they'll probably listen without a fit!