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Content Kids are Happy Kids

We have all been somewhere and have heard a child screaming or running around when it is not appropriate.  This happens at restaurants, doctor’s offices, anywhere that a child needs to wait.  A child screaming or appearing to be difficult is not a bad child, no matter the age, it is just a child who is bored. 

 

One example, that I seen recently, is at my daughter’s dance class.  A 2 year old was running around the lobby, throwing his sippy cup, and just getting into everything.  The entire time his mother is correcting him and becoming more and more aggravated.  He has no idea why she is so upset, but he knows what his problem is.  It is shear boredom.  The dance class is an hour long and that is a lot to expect from a 2 year old or any age child for that matter.  This period of time did not have to be trying for the mother and annoying for all the other people waiting or watching their child in the dance class.  A few extra minutes of preparation could have changed this entire hour and made the experience more enjoyable for the child and mother.

When children, especially younger ones, are bored they tend to act out.  This is their way of communicating that they are not happy.  Children need to learn patience, we cannot expect them to understand what it means to be patient.  There are some adults who do not like waiting and become irritable if they have to wait for a long period of time; so why do we expect children to be able to handle waiting.  In my example above, this child was just trying to entertain himself anyway he knew how.  There is a way to avoid most of these instances, be prepared with activities for your child.  Since my children were babies, I always had an activity bag in the car so I could be prepared for these types of situations.  Plus I had a bag with extra clothes, sippy cups, diapers, wipes, anything that I thought I may need in a just in case situation.  As my kids got older, I had an activity bag in the car, but with different items.

If one of your children has a class or practice and you need to wait with your other child, pack items that will keep your child’s attention.  There are so many games and toys that fit into a large purse, not to mention this day and age with all of the technology.  If you have a tablet, pack it. If not and you have a phone with apps, download some games that your child can play.  There are many free games whether you have an I Phone or Windows phone.  Interact with your child, don’t just expect them to sit there and wait patiently.  Bring a card game or activity book and play with your child; this is a great time to spend some one on one time with your child.  If you have more than one, it is not always easy to give that one on one attention that a child needs so use this time to give extra attention to your child.  This could be another reason why your child is acting out, they are asking for attention in a childlike way.

The dreaded restaurant time, yes this time can even be an enjoyable experience.  Once again put some items in your purse like card games, small non noise making toys, activity books, or sticker books.  The kid’s menu and a few crayons will only last minutes, you need to take your own items.  I let my children each pick something to take into the restaurant, it is usually a card game or a travel game like tic tac toe.  Time goes by so quickly that my children do not even realize the actual wait time, plus it is quality time spent together.  Isn’t it better to do an activity or play a game with your child than constantly be correcting him/her for unwanted behavior; especially if the behavior affects others in the restaurant?  I know mothers who cringe at the idea of taking their children to a real sit down restaurant, not Chuckee Cheese or fast food.  Going out to a restaurant, as a family, can and should be enjoyable.

 

Taking a few minutes to plan for the day or being prepared in advance with an activity bag that is kept in the car can make most, if not all, outings enjoyable.  Sometimes, we as parents, expect too much from our children like them being able to wait without movement.  Think for a moment the last time you had to sit in traffic or wait at a doctor’s office 30 minutes just to see the doctor; were you content or tensed at the idea of waiting?  Try having activities for your children and see the difference it will make.  Those extra minutes can mean less stress in the long run.