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Eight ways to keep kids entertained

It has been one of those weeks – I don’t have to tell you how mine was crazy – we all have our own hairy kinds of weeks. My question: How do we keep our kids entertained while we cart them everywhere??  Confession:  while the kids came to an appointment with me this week, I quickly gave them my IPhone and I Pad to share. What was I doing??

I asked the boys on the way to school today, “How can kids keep occupied while we drive and cart them everywhere??”  Thoughts compiled from me and the boys:

  1. Find balance: Yes, there are times we will use electronics to keep the kids occupied.  But, we stay mindful of “No more than 2 hours of screen time a day” per the 5210 concept. I agree, if you choose carefully, you can find lots of educational content on the electronic devices, but time can fly while using them.
  2. Start your homework while in the car:  This can be carried over to on the bus, waiting to be picked up and at an after school program.  The oldest two boys start reading, math sheets and writing spelling words on the way home.  They realize the quicker homework gets done, the earlier they can play.
  3. Bring a book in the car: Recently, Patrick (9 years) said to me while I was driving, “Mom – I am reading.”  I asked him, “So, you are asking me to stop talking?”  He said, “Yes!” We are happy he enjoys reading!  The other two boys page through books as well, and Matthew (almost 7 years), enjoys reading his own books, too!
  4. Writing time: Bring a notebook; work on letters or just drawing!
  5. Magazine time: Matthew enjoys checking out ideas from the Lego Magazine (and later, we see some great inventions of his own). National Geographic series for kids, Highlights and Cricket magazine are some other great magazines for all age groups.
  6. Play time: Allow one toy per child.  Time for action figures, magna doodle, and other car games.  Make sure the toy comes inside, though, with your child – or otherwise your car becomes the toy chest!
  7. Car games: Remember the alphabet game, license plate game, I Spy, what do you see in the clouds? Don’t forget these easy games for the kids or entire family to play!
  8. Simplify: Do we have to cart the kids everywhere?  Can we simplify?  Sometimes we cannot.  But, if we take a step back, maybe we can?

Is it the parent’s responsibility to keep our children engaged??  I think many times we think yes – but perhaps we need to let them find their independence?   Do our kids know how NOT to be connected?  In this age of computers – it could be a challenge!  Do our kids know how to act with down time? This is a goal we are working on in our own home!

What do you think?

At my next appointment, Edward (4 years) will be bringing the old fashioned coloring book and crayons.  He gets to be creative without an electronic game!

With the holidays in our midst, “I am thankful to friends and family for the support while we muddle through parenting!”

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