Avoid hearing the inevitable cries of “I’m bored” while on a long car trip or waiting for an appointment by having a bag with a variety of activities handy for your child.
We have had a variety of children through our home. As former foster parents and sometimes respite providers, we never know what age child will be coming through our door. This can be problematic when we get ready to go somewhere.
Several years, and a few kids ago, we developed what came to be known as “the red bag.” The red bag saw so much use that it eventually had to be replaced, but it saved the day many times. Kids are not patient little people. They like to be active and things like long car rides or sitting in the doctor’s office are not very exciting. Having a bag that you can easily grab to take with you will diminish the infamous cries of “I’m bored” or having to corral your kids.
How do you pack a bag that can always be ready to go? Work toward your child’s interests and build from there. If you have several children, trying to accommodate different age levels and interests can be tricky, but it can be done.
Start with the basics. Coloring books, writing paper, drawing paper, crayons and colored pencils are necessities in our bag. Keep all of this contained can be accomplished with a couple of basic items. Old lunch boxes work great for containing crayons and pencils. With a lid that snaps shut, you have a lower likelihood of having the crayons tumble all over the floor of your car. Papers can be put into simple folders. A clipboard makes a great hard base for writing or drawing and the clip holds the papers.
Books can be a great addition for any age child. Smaller children can play with board books, and older children can have books appropriate to their reading ability. It might even encourage your child to work on reading skills since no one is sitting over their shoulder correcting mistakes while they’re in the back seat.
Snacks are an absolute must. You know what it’s like to be leaving for ballet class, the doctor’s office or other appointment when you hear the infamous “I’m hungry.” Keep your bag stocked with granola bars, trail mix, peanut butter crackers, or whatever the favorites of your kids happen to be. Make sure they are non-perishable. You never know when something might get stuck and you only find it by the smell at a later date. You may also want to keep juice boxes or bottled water in your bag as well.
One caveat is to not over pack your bag. If your child is going to carry it, make sure it is a reasonable weight for the child. Having your child help you pick out the items that go into the bag will help to guarantee the success of your bag.
When you’re getting ready to leave simply say, “We’re going, get the red bag” and know that you are one prepared mommy.