Learning to wait is important. We wait a lot in life. The funny thing about waiting is; we don’t tend to explicitly say we are waiting unless we are on the phone while standing in a line or something of that nature. Since waiting is often implicit some kids on the spectrum never learn how to wait. This can sometimes manifest as a behavior problem such as a kid screaming until they get what’s being given to them, grabbing something out of someone’s hands, or opening other things while someone is trying to look for something they want, etc. I usually find when a child understands the concept of waiting, many behavioral problems cease to exist. This suggests maybe some of these behavior problems are not behavior issues, but instead comprehension issues. If this sounds like your child don’t worry. There are a lot of ways to work on waiting, but my favorite is the waiting song. It’s a very simple song but its simplicity does not detract from its power.
The Waiting Song is 1 word followed by 2 claps. Waiting, (clap, clap ), Waiting (clap, clap). That’s it, singing the word waiting and clapping twice after. You can sing it for as long as you need to wait. I’ve found the waiting song can often be as effective as it is easy.
I sing the waiting song all the time. Here’s why it’s great.
- It illustrates what waiting is. Waiting is passing the time until it’s time for you to do something.
- It reminds your child what they’re doing which can sometimes lessen anxiety.
- It can be emotionally regulating. (you can sing it slow and quiet to calm or loud and fast to add excitement if you’re last activity was boring)
- It is difficult (not impossible) to destroy something when you’re clapping and singing.
- It is difficult (not impossible) to have a meltdown when you’re clapping and singing.
- It is difficult (not impossible) to run away or bolt out the door when you’re clapping and singing.
As you can see, this little 1 word 2 clap song has some pretty decent bang for your buck. You can practice it anywhere you wait. (standing in lines, waiting for food, waiting for toys, waiting for dvds to start, youtube videos to load) You can click here to hear a short clip of my vocally horrendous rendition of the waiting song. In this post I’m also including a small schedule. I find it helps to practice waiting using a 2 step schedule with wait as the first activity and whatever you’re waiting for as the second activity. When it’s time to wait I point to the waiting picture symbol while singing the waiting song. The combination of singing and visual reinforcement can be really helpful to some kids. I included a few activities, but you can practice any activity represented by a picture symbol with this schedule.
Here’s the link for the schedule -> waitingschedule.bm2