clever distractors

You could hear a pin drop. The budding pianist on the stage is about to play. There’s no guarantee that your preschooler will keep his promise not to make a peep. A few undisturbed minutes go by and you think you’re in the clear…but alas he starts squirming and whispers “when can we go hoooooome?” You panic and desperately look through your purse for anything to keep him quiet.

I’ve been there.

Having three potential noise-makers of my own, I know that temptation: food = quiet. But eating when we’re bored isn’t a healthy habit to develop at a young age (or any age, really). Leaving the house with an arsenal of (inedible) distractors can be all you need. Here are some ideas:

  • Board books with peekaboo flaps or touch & feel books (paper books may be too noisy)
  • Toy cars or trucks
  • Small bag of Lego
  • Colouring pages
  • Small stuffed animal
  • Small photo album
  • Letter tracing for preschoolers
  • Educational phone apps (ie tetris)
  • A doll with lots of clothes for changing
  • Play-Doh
  • Mini puzzles
  • Prepare: Tell your preschooler that you expect her to remain quiet and that you’ll bring some toys along
  • Appreciate: Say thank you, even if your little one lasted for shorter than you’d hoped
  • Be strong. Unless it’s been a while since the last meal, try to avoid giving food to prevent boredom. If it’s getting close to mealtime, say that. Hearing the words “we should be finished in 15 minutes and then it’s lunchtime” can often motivate a child to hang in there for a little while longer.
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