We all have those errand days when the kids have to come with us. It’s very inconvenient and they have to WAIT with you. Kids are instantly more hungry and bored when you have to wait. I’ll never forget the Wal Mart Grocery pick-up day when they gave my order to someone else and left me waiting with both kids in a parked car for over an hour. Talk about maddening! Lucky for me I did my best to use that time to connect with them and teach them about waiting. All my tricks and secrets for sanity-saving are here in How to Entertain a Waiting Kid!
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Waiting is a great time to practice Delayed Gratification. In this modern age, we get everything so instantly—fast food, 2-day delivery, google, Alexa, and more- it’s important to make a conscious effort to teach some delayed gratification. Learn more with 7 Ways to Practice Delayed Gratification with Your Kids.
Connecting with your kids is another important way to make waiting easier. When you have a good connection with your kids it organically grows- confidence, happiness, and even patience. Check out more about The Benefits of Connecting with Your Kids here.
The Top 4 Ways to Entertain Wating Kids
Food is always important. Any time there is a small chance you will be waiting somewhere- pack a snack! Some of these just live in my purse and or diaper bag for emergencies. You want to choose things that a quick and easy to grab. Bonus points if they store well in the bottom of a purse.
Kids like to play. Games make life fun, and interesting, and usually are the best way to learn something new or even practice something! These days many many games are on a screen. Phones and tablets can be useful tools for waiting but they aren’t always available and they don’t help with building your Parent-Child Connection. Waiting during an errand- a time when you the parent also have to wait is a great time to play some fun games with your kiddos. Get creative! Here are some of my favorites.
I Spy ABC- Look for or just think of things that start with each letter of the alphabet. You can even choose categories to help. ABC Animals is a favorite.
Hand games like Thumb War, and Clap Poems (Ms. Mary Mack).
Color Games- take turns thinking of things that are a specific color until one of you can think of any more. Green- leaves, grass, trees, shirt, etc.
Drawing and Coloring- always great to have a stash of paper and some kind of writing utensils around. You can draw animals, practice letters and numbers, talk about emotions and draw matching faces, the options are limitless.
Books are an easy on-the-go entertainment system! There are always a few floating around in the back seat of our car. Even before kids can read just looking at the pictures can be entertaining. Practicing how to hold a book and turn the pages is a wonderful way to spend some time every day!
If you find yourself waiting with no reading materials then create your own story. Look around and think of details you see in the environment around you. A fun colored car, a cute animal, a nice stranger- get creative with your thoughts and share them with your waiting kiddos. Think of a story using Who, What, When, Where, and Why. This is great modeling for their creative side as well.
Music is magic, it has a way of helping our moods, passing the time, and teaching us! Using music and songs while waiting is a great tool for kids to have! Just jamming out to the radio or a playlist of your kiddo’s favorites is fun. I love showing my kids some of my favorite songs. Check out Mom’s Music Playlist!
When we have to wait for something like a vehicle to be fixed or a doctor to be available it can be hard to be patient for adults and kids alike. I hope you found some encouragement here to use that time purposefully. Practice Delayed Gratification and Connect with your kids while you wait. Use those 4 things- Snacks, Games, Stories, and Songs!
Here are some bonus fidget toys that are fun to keep in the car or purse for those waiting times.