Mom PSA: Set a good example

Over the past several weeks, I have noticed something odd at my daughter’s dance class that I haven’t experienced before. Perhaps it is the time of day or perhaps I am simply more aware, but the mothers in the lobby area are not paying any attention to their children and I have become an unpaid babysitter.

My daughter’s ballet class lasts about an hour and starts around lunch time. My son comes with me and we prepare for our lobby time by bringing lessons and games to occupy our time productively. It actually provides us with a scheduled time to do some learning and then have some free time. I bring some games he can do independently so that I have an opportunity to chat with other moms for a few minutes as well.

What has developed and has increased each week is that while we do not bring many toys {a tin filled with legos and coloring books}, other children overwhelm our little corner of the lobby and actually block my son from his own toys to where I step in to ensure that each child has a chance to play. Today, there were SIX CHILDREN blocking my son from his toys.

The worst part is that when I look up, NO PARENTS are paying any attention to these children and I have no clue to whom they belong!

I understand that this time is a nice break for parents – believe me, I am a mom of three who values my afternoon “resting time.” This is why I plan ahead to ensure that my children have activities with which to play while we are stuck in a lobby. I value my time as well and to be deemed “babysitter” because I planned ahead is not fair to me and my time with my son.

This got me thinking: How the heck do I deal with this?!?

When I don’t know what to do, I make lists. Using one back pack, you can be prepared for a long waiting period. {These work for car trips as well.}

Pre-made fun packs from Fun on the Fly

So, here is a list of small, quiet, practical things you can bring to occupy your child in a waiting room.

  • Legos – we have a tin lunch box that works perfectly for this. We load up several versatile Legos and my son is set for hours!
  • Books – my minions love books, even just looking through books keeps them engaged.
  • Crayons & Paper – we bring coloring books, but honestly, blank paper works just fine. Guide them by asking them to color a picture of your family or of what they love about this season.
  • Stickers/Sticker BooksMelissa & Doug make these wonderful books that allow kids to move reusable stickers all over the book. These are great for waiting times.
  • Activity Workbooks – I love taking this opportunity to teach math or reading. Dollar Tree has several booklets in their Teaching aisle that are fantastic for on-the-go lessons.
  • Flash cards/Quiz cards – I love flash cards and luckily, my kids are pretty good with them too. We have ABCs, 123s, Addition, Subtraction, etc… But for occupying children for long periods of time, I love the quiz cards like the Smarty Pants cards from Melissa & Doug as they come in various ages.
  • Dolls/Action Figures – just a couple of these keep my minions in their own pretend world for a good period of time. My daughter loves to play mom with her doll and my son conquers the world with his Spiderman.
  • Snack & Water – because nothing is worse than waiting with a hangry child…

We don’t bring each of these items every place we go, but I do keep one back pack for this exact use. At the moment, it includes Lego tin, two activity books with crayons, two regular books, a small snack pack with peanuts and raisins, and water.

And please, please, PLEASE if you do find your children well-engaged for a length of time with another family, make a point to THANK that family for playing with your child/children. I understand it occurring occasionally as I have found myself wrapped up in a conversation before. But when it becomes a repeated occurrence and you aren’t doing anything to change it, you are teaching your children bad habits.

Remember, while your time is valuable, so is the mom’s across the room.

Have a nice day!


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