Waiting is not easy. How many times have you heard grown men and women grumble about having to wait in line at the grocery store? We can teach our children to make the most of waiting time and not to get frustrated by it. If we practice taking advantage of “extra time opportunities” to do enjoyable activities, we teach our children patience and they will behave better during future unexpected waiting times because they’ve learned coping skills and won’t associate waiting with frustration. It will also help avoid what could be an explosive behavior problem. Don’t pull out your phone and go into your own world until your child has a meltdown from boredom. Take advantage of the time together! Below are some activities you can do with your children when you find yourself having to wait for something (or someone) unexpectedly.
- Review favorite nursery rhymes, leaving rhyming words out to see if your child can fill them in.
- Color game: choose a color and find as many things as you can that are that color
- Counting game: count how long you can stand on one foot, then try to do it for longer
- Practice folding things in half: Grab a receipt or dollar bill, show your child how to fold it, and give them a chance to try it.
- Keep those little boxes of crayons you get at restaurants in your purse or diaper bag, along with a mini notebook.
- Find a sign, magazine, product, or advertisement and count how many J’s you find (or whatever letter your child can recognize)
- Play I spy. Look around and either tell your child what you’ve spotted and have your child find it, or give hints and have your child guess what it is and find it
Look for a future post focusing on “make-ahead” kits for waiting times.