Vacations can be wonderful. They also can be excruciating. There are lots of reasons but let's tackle one that roars up it's ugly head on many vacations. Without dealing with the problem of waiting, vacations can be very tough. Why is waiting such a problem? Well, children are growing up in a society that prides itself in instant gratification. Let's just consider a few.
- Checkout lines for less than 10 items thus not as much waiting.
- Drive thru lines at fast food restaurants
- Fast Pass at Disney World (ability to go in shorter line)
- Pick up Walmart order at customer service
First of all, I am not opposed to any of these. I just wanted to make us aware that nobody has to wait very long for most things. There are still a few things that can not be sped up. This includes a school year, my birthday or Christmas, Time still moves at the same speed as it always has. That means it takes me about 5 hours to drive to Chicago from my house. There is not much I can do about that. I must learn to pass the time. This is true for children as they must wait as the family travels. But can it be pleasant? You might say , "I'll settle for bearable." What is a parent to do? Here are a few suggestions.
- Expand the child's repertoire. Find things to keep them busy that are not electronic.
- If you have a DVD player in your car, use it sparingly. It will be a bigger incentive if it is not used constantly during the trip. Have each child take turns choosing what they will watch.
- Pack a special bag for each child. Use it as a first.....then. "First you play with things in your bag until the timer rings....then you can watch a movie we brought." Use a schedule of whose turn it is to select the movie. This will help limit arguments,
- Purchase some inexpensive toys at the dollar store for each child. If the child has been following the guidelines with a good attitude, a present can be opened at various predetermined interval during the trip.
If children learn to pass the time, life will be better for everyone. They may learn to love to travel. If they can learn how to pass the time, it will open up lots of opportunities for fun family times. They may learn about lots of things in the process!