You’re in the checkout line at the supermarket, and your toddler starts a screaming fest because he’s tired of sitting in the cart. Or maybe you’re at an amusement park waiting for a ride, and your daughter is running in and out of the barriers yelling, “I’m bored!” every five seconds. Sound familiar? Just about every parent has experienced a waiting-in-line temper tantrum while out with a child; however, many of these meltdowns can be avoided. Here are some tips for making waiting easier and turning dead time into fun time.
Waiting is a part of life. You can actually use the instances where you have to wait with your child as teaching moments. “Many times parents try to help their children skip over the difficult parts of life rather than teaching [acceptance],” says April Masini, advice guru, author, and syndicated Ask April columnist. “It’s not natural for children to be stimulated 24/7,” she adds, but it is natural for all people to be bored sometimes.
Keep Toys on Hand
It’s easy to tuck away a few playthings in your purse for those moments when your kids need to be occupied. Easy-to-tote items include toy cars, small dolls, or transformer-type toys. Anything small that your child loves to play with will be a great diversion during long waiting periods.
Be Ready to Become a Bard
A few good books (and good imaginations!) can make long waits bearable, says Sherry Conway Appel, author of On the Birth of Your Child: From Mother to Daughter. If you have to stand in line at a theme park, you can either read a story or make up one. Or have your child tell you a story. By planning ahead you can take the pressure off during those nothing-to-do moments.
Go on Snack Patrol
It is a good idea to have a yummy treat on hand at all times. A snack can keep a child occupied. Of course, this isn’t the answer if the little one isn’t at all hungry. Plus, keeping your kids busy with unhealthy snacks can be a very bad habit and start them down a very bad path. Stick to healthy treats and distribute them only in moderation.