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Do not reach for that smartphone…

Many of us understand the frustrations of keeping our kids entertained in Public Spaces. We have all experienced meltdowns, tantrums and crying fits from our kids at movie theatres, while waiting for a Doctor’s appointment, at a restaurant or on a flight.  Kids will be kids and the key is to keep them constructively occupied with age-appropriate activities. So the next time resists the temptation of handing over your phone to your child when he’s throwing a tantrum, instead try the following activities.

We have made a list of activities to occupy your kid’s time. These fun activities will really help keep the kids busy and calm while in public. So, try these on your next visit out.

 I Spy…

Pick a number, a color, a person, place, or thing from the room you are in. Then, give your child hints like what color it is, what shape it is etc., prompt your child to ask questions to deduce what you’re Spying. Guide your child along by giving hints, too. By practicing complete questions and responses that are more than one-word answers, you’re helping them be kindergarten-ready communicators — expanding their vocabulary too.

Guess Which Hand

With your hands behind your back, place a small item, like a coin, in one hand and hide it by making a fist. Without revealing where it is, show your child your fists and ask them to choose the hand hiding the coin. Tweak this game by holding your fists in different positions, like one above the table and the other below, or one in front of you and one behind, and asking your child, “Which hand — in front of behind?” After a few rounds, give your child the coin as a prize.

Coloring Books and Crayons

This old classic is a no-fail way to entertain your kids. Buy coloring books of different kinds or take printouts of coloring sheets with their favorite cartoon characters. Keep stock of this in your bag. Always carry a box of crayons in your bag. When they get cranky, this coloring activity always works to distract them and keeps them occupied for a while.

Audio Books

Audio storybooks are another way to keep them entertained while you are out or have to take a long car ride or even on a train journey. Audiobooks for toddlers all the way to young adults can be found in stores. Ladybird and Karadi tales are a big favorite among kids. You could also download some audiobooks on your phone or other devices for them to enjoy. All you need are a pair of earphones.

Kiddie Bag/backpack

Always carry a bag for your kids stocked with small sets of Lego, a favorite toy, crayons, coloring book, a snack and water to drink. Let them carry it themselves so they feel important and independent. If everything fails, always have a few toffees or a bar of chocolate. Works like a charm!

IPad/ electronics

The choice to give your children an iPad, Tablets and other electronics is a choice that has to be taken as individually by each parent. While some of us may have reservations about Tablets and phones babysitting our kids, some parents may have a positive experience with it. So please take an informed decision about giving children these gadgets. Read up or discuss the pros and cons of games and electronics.

Have a sensible talk

Another important thing to do before you plan an outing is to sit your children down and talk to them and prepare them. Tell them where you are going, why you are going there, how you need to behave there, what are the other kind of people you would meet there, etc. We often tend to underestimate our Children’s sensibilities, but most of the time they understand if you have this conversation with them. For example, if a doctor’s visit is being planned, tell your child that you will be meeting the doctor, why you are going, that there will be other people there who might be unwell and hence he has to be well behaved. You could also tell him that since there are so many people that the doctor needs to see, you might be delayed.

 

As parents, we often get upset by our child’s behavior, especially if it is a tantrum, and we are quick to talk about bad behavior and its consequences. The important idea here is to prevent these tantrums and meltdowns. Having this talk with them is teaching them skills, is teaching them how to prevent these from happening. This is the beginning of a lifelong lesson in communication with your children.

So these are our suggestions to keep your kids happily occupied with these fun and creative activities. If you have any to add to the list that has worked for you, please let us know so we can add it to ours.

 

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