Teaching Kids How to Wait Without Electronics

I heard there was once a time when people had learn how to wait – actually just sit there and wait.

It seems so quaint. No texting. No surfing. No social media.

It seems nearly impossible to fathom. Like, what exactly did they do while watching the paint dry – daydream, contemplate life, talk to people? Ugh. The horror.

A phone is equivalent to adult oxygen while being forced to wait. But when it comes to your children and waiting, the reality is that phones aren’t always an option. They may be too young to own one. You could be waiting on a call. Your battery might be low and you don’t want them to have it. Fights might ensue over who gets it first, or longest.

I think it’s time that we revisit the behaviors of our phone-less forefathers and teach our kids just how they can pass time without holding electronics like it’s some sort of necessary breathing apparatus.

This can be done if we (ahem) daydream a little. 

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Rock–paper–scissors – The beauty of this game is that young kids can figure it out pretty quick, and it’s even more fun when you play each other in a seven-game series.

Alphabet game – You can always play the traditional A-to-Z version where you look for objects that begin with each letter, but older kids will have fun using movie or song titles.

Hangman – All it takes is paper and a pen. (You could also spend time discussing the merits of a more polite, less ruthless name for this classic game.)

Name that tune – What once was a memorable game show makes for perfect family fun. You give a clue to a song, and your kids alternate bidding as to how few notes they need to name the song.

Eat – No one ever complained when offered a snack, and it’s the perfect time to offer healthy ones. If they’re hungry enough, they’ll eat it.

Cards – It’s easy to bring a deck of cards nearly anywhere. You can try any of the traditional games, or try specific decks like UNO, which are excellent for kids.

I Spy and Simon Says – You played them as a kid, and your child will, too.

Thumb wrestling – If your child regularly uses a phone or video games, this should actually make for a close match if they take on naturally stronger parents.

Draw – Remember that paper you used for hangman? You can also use it for doodling, which everyone loves to do. 

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So take a moment to spend some quality, old-fashioned time while waiting with your kids. And just think, all of the memories you make passing time will make for excellent tweets when you get back on your phone.


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Teaching Kids How to Wait Without Electronics

Tom Konecny is a dad of four children and husband to wife, Erika. Tom currently serves as a private consultant in writing, communications and marketing. In 2013, Tom founded Dad Marketing, a site dedicated to exploring the world of marketing to dads. He previously worked in sports marketing, served as an associate editor and writer for several publications, and directed an award-winning corporate marketing department. His first book, "DADLY Dollar$" will be published this summer, and he is c ... More

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