Long lines and toddlers seem to go together like eggs and ice cream. But that doesn’t always have to be the case. Here are a few tricks I’ve developed throughout the years that can help make waiting in a long line fun for both you and your kids.
A Bag of Tricks: I’ve learned to keep a few fun items (read: things to distract my kids!) in my backpack at all times. For babies – the usual suspects like pacifiers, stuffed animals, and their favorite blanket can help take the edge off. For toddlers, we bring out the big guns – things like a small pack of crayons and a notepad, plain paper and sheets of stickers, and age-appropriate puzzles and mazes. Getting a toddlers’ creative juices flowing can sometimes help to keep their attention for up to 30 minutes – which should hopefully get through that long line!
Game Time: Vocal and visual games are great for toddlers. One of our family favorites is “I spy with my little eye…” This game requires children to use their surroundings. If you are unfamiliar with the game, the rules are fairly simple: You or your child will go first and pick something out of the crowd; you’ll say, “I spy with my little eye something purple.” And you or your child will then have to guess until the (in this case) purple item has been spotted. Then you switch turns. Another game we love to play is Simon Says; playing this game in line can allow children to get a little bit of energy out while listening to instructions and paying attention; it’s sure to get lots of smiles and giggles – and, who knows, maybe others within the line will participate too!
Sustenance: Don’t forget to have plenty of snacks and beverages on hand at all times. Your child might get grumpy because they are not only bored, but they’re hungry too. Being armed with portable snacks at all times can be a lifesaver. Healthy snacks that pack easily include bananas, crackers, Cherios, apple slices, string cheese, bottle water and juice boxes.
Use these simple tips to keep your toddler happy while waiting in a long line.