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20 Children's Books About Waiting To Help Your Kids Practice Patience

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If your kids are anything like mine, being told to wait for something sounds like nails on a chalkboard to their little ears. These children's books about waiting can help kids understand that, contrary to popular belief, practicing patience is not actually the worst thing in the world.

Patience may be a virtue, but little kids often don't have the capacity yet to play the waiting game. Kids like to be busy, they like to get what they want when they want it, and they don't like to be told something won't happen as quickly as they'd like. If you've ever taken a long car trip with your kids or had to wait in line for a ride at Disney World, you know exactly how impatient kids can be. Waiting patiently is a skill that has to be taught and honed in on over time to really sink in, which is where these 20 books come into play.

These books aren't only great for kids to learn how to put skills of self-control to work, but are a refreshing reminder for parents to keep calm when things aren't happening as swiftly as you might hope. After all, if you practice what you preach, it might just be easier for your kids to pick up on.

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1. 'Slowly, Slowly, Slowly, Said the Sloth' by Eric Carle

Help your kids appreciate taking things slow by reading "Slowly, Slowly, Slowly," Said the Sloth by Eric Carle. The familiar illustration style of Carle's paired with the sloth's peaceful existence gives kids a glimpse at how great a slower approach to life can be. The best part? Beloved primate researcher Jane Goodall wrote the forward for the book.

2. 'Waiting for the Biblioburro' by Monica Brown

The reward that comes when kids practice patience often makes the time spent waiting worth it, just like in Waiting for the Biblioburro by Monica Brown. This book follows the story of Ana as she waits between visits from the traveling librarian who visits her town so that she can dive into a new, exciting story.

3. 'Sophie's Squash' by Pat Zietlow Miller

If you've recently planted a garden and your kids are impatiently waiting for blooms to appear, Sophie's Squash by Pat Zietlow Miller is a great read to pass the time and help them understand the beauty of patience. After an unlikely friendship blossoms between Sophie and a squash she names Bernice, she plants the squash as it starts to rot and must wait through the winter for a welcomed surprise.

4. 'Stormy' by Guojing

A wordless picture book is a great way to help pre-readers understand the concept of waiting. The gorgeous illustrations in Stormy by Guojing depict a woman who finds a stray dog in need of a forever home, but must patiently try to earn the dog's trust over time, day by day and bit by bit, before they can become friendly enough for him to come home with her.

5. 'Waiting' by Kevin Henkes

This gorgeous children's book by Keven Henkes perfectly captures the joy that can be found in passing the time with friends. In Waiting, several toys lined up on a windowsill are all waiting for something different to happen, and the story of their patience is told through sweet and simple text.

6. 'If You Want to See a Whale' by Julie Fogliano

Whale-watching is one exercise in waiting that gives a big payoff at the end in the form of witnessing a massive, marvelous creature rising from the depths of the ocean. In If You Want to See a Whale, Julie Fogliano captures the quiet persistence required to catch a glimpse of such a feat.

7. 'Llama Llama Red Pajama' by Anna Dewdney

If your child is prone to needing you right by their side the moment they call out for help, Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney can help them understand that with a bit of patience, mom and dad will always be there for them.

8. 'Remy the Rhino Learns Patience' by Andy McGuire

When a powerful rhino gets his horn stuck in a tree, he must wait as a termite slowly eats away at the wood to free him. When you read Remy the Rhino Learns Patience by Andy McGuire with your kids, they can learn how even animals must keep their cool despite their wants not coming as quickly as they would like.

9. 'Are We There Yet?' by Dan Santat

Are We There Yet? by Dan Santat answers the inevitable question every parent loathes hearing on a long (or even relatively short) car ride. In the book, a boy's imagination takes him on an incredible journey while he passes the time on a long car trip to visit his grandmother.

10. 'Waiting Is Not Easy!' by Mo Willems

Beloved author and illustrator Mo Willems helps kids acknowledge and accept the feelings that accompany a long wait can be in Waiting Is Not Easy! In the book, Piggie has a surprise for his best friend Gerald, but Gerald must wait for the surprise. In doing so, Gerald learns how hard it is to wait, but in the end what a reward it can bring.

11. 'Betty Bunny Loves Chocolate Cake' by Michael Kaplan

Waiting to devour a decadent dessert is hard for some adults, so it only stands to reason that it would also be a struggle for little kids. In Betty Bunny Loves Chocolate Cake by Michael Kaplan, Betty must learn the importance of eating healthy, as well as how to wait patiently for a slice of her favorite cake.

12. 'Waiting for Snow' by Marsha Diane Arnold

There is just something so magical about snowfall, and most kids have a hard time containing their anticipation of walking through a winter wonderland. Waiting for Snow by Marsha Diane Arnold follows an impatient badger as his animal pals teach him all about how to wait for the snow to fall.

13. 'Patience, Miyuki' by Roxanne Marie Galliez

In Patience, Miyuki by Roxanne Marie Galliez, after waiting for a sleepy flower to bloom on the first day of spring, Miyuki becomes impatient and tries to rush the process, but her grandfather steps in and helps bring to life the importance of waiting for things to happen in their own time.

14. 'Five Minutes' by Liz Garton Scanlon & Audrey Vernick

How much can you actually do in five minutes? As the children's book Five Minutes explains, that's actually a matter of perspective. Your kids will love to see how the main character fills his day in five-minute increments to illustrate how time can pass slowly or quickly depending on what you're doing.

15. 'Save It!' by Cinders McLeod

When you read Save It! by Cinders McLeod, not only will your kids learn about the payoff of patience, but they'll also learn about how to save their money to buy something special or important.

16. 'I'll Wait, Mr. Panda' by Steve Antony

While Mr. Panda is making something delicious, his friends are too impatient to wait and see the end result. All but one patient penguin winds up missing out on a delicious donut! The adorable book I'll Wait, Mr. Panda by Steve Antony not only teaches kids how waiting can yield yummy results, but teaches kindness in the process.

17. 'The Very Impatient Caterpillar' by Ross Burach

The transformation of a caterpillar into a butterfly definitely takes time, so metamorphosis is the perfect metaphor to help your kids learn the art of patience. The Very Impatient Caterpillar by Ross Burach is a story rooted in STEM that can help show your child how beautiful waiting can turn out to be.

18. 'I Can't Wait!' by Amy Schwartz

In I Can't Wait! by Amy Schwartz, three friends practice patience while they each wait for something different. As you read this picture book with your child, they will also have to wait to see exactly what exciting thing each friend is waiting for.

19. 'Grow, Candace, Grow" by Candace Cameron Bure

The illustrated children's book Grow, Candace, Grow is written by bestselling author and actress Candace Cameron Bure. The '90s sitcom star who made DJ Tanner a household name can now help convince your children that patience is the best practice with this adorable story about a little girl who wants to help her class garden grow faster.

20. 'Waiting for Chicken Smith' by David Mackintosh

Each year when his family rents a beach cabin, a young boy is visited by his friend Chicken Smith. When Chicken Smith doesn't show up as expected, the boy recounts to his sister all of the good times they've had in years past and wonders when they'll be able to have fun together again. Waiting for Chicken Smith by David Mackintosh is great for helping kids understand that while waiting you can take time to appreciate small moments.