My best friend is a 2nd grade teacher. Recently, we were talking about the concept of “wait time,” and how she is using it more and more in her teaching, especially in math. Wait time is simply giving kids ample time to think and respond. The whole concept is kids will often come up with the right answer, they just need a bit of time to think — to work things out for themselves.

Photo by the Squirrel Assistant

Photo by the Squirrel Assistant

This of course got me thinking. Wait time. I often see parents rushing over to a piece of play equipment to give their kids a boost — when, if they had just waited a second, the child would have gotten there on their own. And felt successful for having done so. Of course, this immediate desire to jump in and help or do things for kids is motivated by concern and caring, but it still can act as a speed bump to learning and self-achievement. Kids are so much smarter and more resourceful than we think, we grown-ups just need to wait a bit — give them time to think, act, fail, and try a new approach.

In both play and education there should be room made for wait time. The benefits — self-reliance and self-confidence — far outweigh the bit of time it takes to foster them.

Sunday morning seems a perfect time to ponder this concept. Wait time. Where else do you think your life might benefit from a bit of it? Try it. Give yourself a minute to think before you respond or react. See what happens if you just wait a minute. I know I need to do this more.

See ya outside! – The Grass Stain Guru

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