Yesterday was payday and that means one thing to my daughter. Starbucks. As part of our strategy to build waiting (and therefore patience) into Nora’s routine, I’ve started a tradition of taking her to Starbucks on a bi-weekly basis.
I learned this strategy from an article in the New Yorker last year. Stanford professor Walter Mischel says parents can be a big contributor to a child’s developing self-control, “This is where your parents are important,” Mischel says. “Have they established rituals that force you to delay on a daily basis? Do they encourage you to wait? And do they make waiting worthwhile?”
Every morning we talk about what day it is. Nora thinks of days in relation to when we’re going to Starbucks. Besides developing self control, it’s really helping her learn her calendar. Explaining the concept of non-payday Thursdays is the toughest, but she’s starting to get it. Sometimes, she pretends it’s Wednesday, when it’s really only Monday, trying to trick me into going early.
She always gets a chocolate milk. Yesterday, she got some pumpkin bread, too. She loves everything about the experience, getting the milk off the shelf herself, handing it to the cashier (this took some practice, as for quite awhile she thought this meant she was giving it up), sitting at a table, even poking the straw through the container. She soaks it up. Best of all, she doesn’t whine to go to Starbucks everyday anymore. She knows it’s coming and it’s worth the wait.