Most parents know that they need to be prepared for those inevitable waiting times with their kids. At restaurants, the doctor’s office or on errands, a bored kid with nothing to do is a recipe for disaster. If you want to avoid constantly handing your kid your phone to watch videos, try these four no-fail, screen-free ways to calm your restless kids down.
No, you don’t have to lug around a whole coloring book. A few printed pages and a small package of crayons can be enough to keep your restless kids entertained for a while. You can find coloring pages of their favorite characters to print online, or rip some pages out of a coloring book and tuck them in your bag.
Kids of all ages can get into the competitive spirit of fun games. Whether you bring a mini checkers or chess set for older kids, a matching card game for younger ones or even just draw a tic-tac-toe board on a blank sheet of paper, games can spice up any slow times throughout the day.
With a little creativity, you can come up with fun challenges to keep your restless kids from getting bored. Have them find everything in the room that’s a certain color, or ask them to count how many other people are in the restaurant. Draw a maze on paper and have them drive their toy car through it. For older kids who are learning to read, bring a “word find” puzzle or make your own. Include your child’s name since they love finding their own names.
When all else fails, a healthy snack can help keep restless kids busy. Snacks that take a while to eat are especially helpful. Try small pieces of cereal, chewy dried fruit or a whole apple, depending on their age. Just pop some snacks in your bag, and you’ll be ready when the time comes.
With a bit of planning, wait times can be full of fun and smiles instead of whining and acting out. All you have to do is bring a few small items with you, such as snacks, small games, crayons and coloring book pages, and the kids will be happy and well-behaved.