Elizabeth Kidd Hogan is someone I can literally say I’ve known my entire life. In my family, cousins aren’t just someone you see every few years at a reunion- cousins are a THING. And Elizabeth is my first cousin. I’ve been looking up to and listening to her for as long as I’ve been alive, and in this weeks guest post, she drops some SERIOUS mom-knowledge. The only thing sweeter than Elizabeth doing this guest post for us are her two BEE-YOU-TIFUL babies. So, if you are around or interact with children on ANY type of basis… READ THIS POST! You’ll be so glad. Promise. ~Leigh
Before I had kids, waiting (at the dentist, in the grocery line, at a slow restaurant) was slightly annoying. Now, with two kids under 4 years old, waiting can be downright terrifying. Luckily, in my mommy years, I’ve learned a few tricks to make waiting with your kids somewhat bearable. The kids don’t even have to be your own! If you’re a babysitter, an aunt or uncle, a grandparent, or that unfortunate soul that my daughter inexplicably fixates on at the airport, then don’t you want to have some tricks up your sleeve? I thought so.
I am the furthest thing from tech savvy, but let me assure you that when it comes to entertaining kids while waiting… there’s an app for that. Many apps, actually. And I can get to them quicker than you can say, “tantrum.” Most kid’s apps work on an iPhone, iPad, Android, Galaxy, tablet, etc. We have iPhones and an iPad, and depending on what we are doing or where we are going, we choose which device is necessary. I, obviously, always have my lifeline (iPhone).
Netflix is THE BEST app when it comes to entertaining the preschool/elementary kid. We abuse this service! I love squeezing every penny out of the $8 bucks we pay a month. Totally worth it! Netflix is loaded with kids shows and movies and it’s easy to navigate from your phone, tablet or desktop. BUT… Netflix is just like watching TV and every mom knows your infant/toddler/preschooler should not be watching more than 30 minutes of TV a day (wink, wink). Here’s where educational apps and ebooks come in. There are a bajillion fun and educational apps for kids and you can get some of the best ones for free. I rarely pay for a kid app.
Here are some of our favorites freebies-
If you don’t mind paying a few bucks for great quality, here are some other suggestions-
- The Peekaboo Series of apps from Night and Day Studios
- My Very First App (Eric Carle)
- All Duck, Duck, Moose apps (Puzzle Pop, Fish School, Wheels on the Bus)
- All Toddler Teaser apps
And then there are ebooks, which are my personal favorite. The really good ebooks cost a few dollars but are totally worth it. Most are interactive and just flat out fun for kids and adults. They read themselves, which is great for the introverted 3-year-old, and usually only require a touch or swipe to turn the page. My favorite ebook is The Monster at the End of This Book, narrated by lovable, furry, ole Grover from Sesame Street. It was a favorite book of mine growing up and the app is amazing! Ebooks can also be a bedtime sanity saver on those nights you think you will combust if you have to read Olivia and the Fairy Princesses one more time (Just me?).
Okay, was I the last mom in the world to learn about busy bags? I kept noticing when we went to restaurants with other parents and toddlers that the moms were pulling out cute pencil cases filled with educational travel games while my daughter sat with the crayon 4-pack that I kept in my purse from our last visit to California Pizza Kitchen (I thought I was so smart). I got up close and personal with busy bags at one particularly disastrous lunch playdate. Since my daughter was the only child without a busy bag, one of the moms offered to let her choose one from her duffel bag (YES, I said duffel bag) full of handmade ones. Well, in choosing, she proceeded to dump out the contents of every single bag onto the restaurant floor. I spent the next 20 minutes (very BUSY) under the table picking up a thousand trinkets and trying to figure out which bag they went into. Did I mention I was 9-months pregnant? I went straight home and searched “Busy Bags” on Pinterest and saw where all the over-achieving moms were getting their arsenals. I went for the ones that required little to no crafting skills and included items that we already had at home. I did go to Target and buy the cute pencil cases (bags) because, well, they just look better than Ziplock bags. But Ziplock bags will totally work. I only made 5 or 6 and they have suited us well over the last year. I’ve recently pinned a few more ideas that I’ll get to work on this summer. I keep our busy bags in a small basket near our door and throw a few in my purse/diaper bag as we head out for errands or a restaurant.
I’m also a big fan of the new Grab-and-Go Play Packs that are popping up at drug stores, grocery stores and big boxes. Occasionally they are in the dollar bins at Target and I stock up. They’re just jazzed up coloring pages and crayons but are convenient and great for travel.
When words are all you got:
Then there are the old fashion waiting games that require nothing but your brain! “I Spy” is a favorite of my 3 year old. She often needs lots of clues, but eventually gets there. I personally love the kid-friendly version of “Would you Rather?”
“Would you rather live in the ocean or in outerspace?”
“Obvs, the ocean with Ariel, mom! DUH!”
Okay, my daughter doesn’t say obvs or duh. I’m just preparing for my future.
The Last Resort (aka The Motherload):
The picture speaks for itself. If you aren’t carrying around a bag o’ Dum Dums for waiting emergencies, you should be! You’ve been warned.
* This post is dedicated to my sweet peeps, Allie (3.5) and Sam (10 months), who have forced me to learn all kind of cool mommy tricks.