Recently, I spent three long days at a government office. As I was sitting there, I met some incredible women. I don't know how it is across the U.S., but in Lubbock, TX the average wait, for public assistance, is 4 hours.
The average toddler's attention span is probably 7 minutes, at best. Here is a photo of how one of those days progressed:
Photo of my 4-year-old by OneMomsGuide
One thing I noticed were frustrated parents. I'm not going to lie, it's difficult to sit FOUR long hours...anywhere. I can't do anything for 4-5 hours, much less with a toddler. Parents, you don't have to make it harder on yourself than it is.
10 items I recommend you have on hand, for your toddler, in case you need to wait for long periods of time.
Typically, I take my children to parent/teacher conferences, government appointments, church services, doctors' appointments, etc...
- Invest in a backpack or durable tote. I wouldn't recommend something small and quaint. Think, practical and sturdy.
- Pack 1 bottle of water. Less is more. Unless you want to spend your day in the bathroom or cleaning huge spills, pack only 1 average-sized bottle of water. Tip: Make sure it's water and not a sugary caffeinated beverage.
- A blanket. It doesn't have to be a comforter. Chances are, your child has a small blanket s/he loves. Bring it along. Kids crave the comfort of the familiar...more than entertainment and blankies have many uses.
- A book. If your child is young, read it to him/her. Or pack a book you know your child loves to "read" on his/her own. My child happens to love bugs.
- Snacks!! Your child cannot make it 4 hours without snacks. We're American. We need snacks. I pack small packages of fruit snacks, usually. In the photo above, I packed berry Kix. (If you look closely, the child next to him was coveting my kid's snacks.)
- If you have a little boy, pack a small little car. Little boys typically enjoy them and they are easy to tote around and replace if lost.*
- If you have a little girl, pack a doll. You're an awesome Mom and your daughter wants to show the world, she is too!*
- Bring along a cheap McDonald's toy. Why? Because your child will act like it's a $20 dollar toy! Actually, other children will not have well-prepared mothers. Your McDonald's toy will be worth its weight in gold to another child.
- A lovey. That's what we call stuffed animals. If you can't get your child to take a nap with the blanket I listed in #3, a lovey will go a long way.
- A MagnaDoodle. Crayons are a mess and so are most other things. I bought a very inexpensive egg-shaped MagnaDoodle during Easter season one year and it's been a lifesaver!
I don't wait until I have an appointment. I keep my toddler's backpack well stocked and ready to go. I recently saw a woman use a reusable "green" shopping bag! She had it loaded with toys and goodies. I use a backpack because it was given to me as a gift.
A bored child can bring his/her parents to tears. Plan well and make it more tolerable for yourself and your child.
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