If you thought for sure you’d see a blank page after clicking on this headline, I hear you. Keeping a toddler occupied must be a joke, right? Is that even possible? I could’ve titled this “Tips to Keep Your Toddler Happy,” but you already know how to do that. Pass over the sweets, let em strip off and do dangerous things like run in the street (or is that just my kids?). No, you don’t need tips on what will keep your little kid happy. Instead, you want to know how to make trips to the supermarket doable without getting a neurotic eye twitch or long waits in boring places like the dentist’s or doctor’s surgery more bearable. So, for the sake of your sanity, here are a few things that I have found help you out (without the aforementioned stripping or dangerous activities):
- Hand over your phone or the tablet without feeling guilty.
What I hear you cry!? Aren’t screens terrible for toddlers and kids? For years the American Academy of Pediatrics had strict guidelines about shielding children under 2 years old from having any interaction with TVs, tablets, computers and mobile devices but the more we know, the less this seems to hold weight.
So, when you’re in a pinch, pull out your phone or preempt the travel and take their tablet (if they have one).
- Pack a “Special” bag
For times that you need more preparation than your mobile, buy your toddler a special on-the-go bag. This bag should only be brought out when you desperately need it. After a few uses, your toddler will recognise it as a special treat, which will help keep them quiet longer as they explore what’s inside.
Start with a new bag. Fill it with age-appropriate toys and activities, like reusable, mess-free water coloring booklets, mini puzzles and magnetic tins. For the best results, rotate activities and toys every couple of weeks, depending on how often you use the bag don’t rotate these special bag toys with ones your child plays with at home. The point is to make it a special surprise for when they need to be on their best behaviour.
All the snacks, preferably not the sugary kind because you will kick yourself later on when your child is swinging from a tree or bouncing around like a loon. I really love biscuits (yes, they are a bit sugary, but not a pack of haribo) and crisps like jacobs mini cheddars, little goodies, organix… test out the snack isles, find what works and go for it.
The best way to keep your toddler occupied and content while you’re on the go is to give them an incentive. Whether they’re playing a new game on your phone or with a toy from their on-the-go bag, find something fun that will keep them busy and happy for a good chunk of time. Good luck!