Time Wasters or Awesome Opportunities?


Time Wasters or Awesome Opportunities?

I recently came across an online article about ways to spend time while waiting with a child. The title of the article was “Time Wasters,” but as I read through the list it occurred to me that all of them would be awesome RDI(r) opportunities. Many of them brought me back to my own childhood – trying on my Mom’s watch and rings during long church services, looking for signs on car trips with my siblings, having contests to see if we could make each other laugh while waiting for food in restaurants…those were the days! I don’t know how much kids today have the opportunity to do these things now that our society is so consumed with doing something every moment. When we are faced with having to wait we tinker with our phones, i-pods, or other gadgets. If parents know their children are going to have to wait they arm them with game boys and portable DVD players. I wonder if these great “time wasters” that we enjoyed as children are on their way to extinction. It’s a shame because these little activities provide tons of opportunities for reciprocal engagement, emotion sharing, collaboration, negotiation, experience-sharing communication, problem solving, and flexibility. Think of all the things you could spotlight by arm wrestling, making funny faces, or playing “telephone.”

The complete list of 101 “time waster” ideas can be found at this link: http://specialchildren.about.com/od/behaviorstrategies/a/timewasters.htm

In the meantime, here are a few to think about and try:

  • Thumb wrestle
  • Draw letters or pictures or words on your child’s back or arm and have them guess
  • Take off your child’s socks and use them as puppets
  • Let your child try on your wristwatch or jewelry
  • Play “I Spy”
  • Sort and/or count change in your purse or pockets
  • Have a staring contest
  • Blow imaginary bubbles
  • Show your child the pictures in your wallet

Think about your own memories from childhood – how did you and your family and friends “waste time?” Pick a few of these little activities and try them with your kids this week. Turn time that might otherwise be wasted on electronic stimulation, static interests, or your kids driving you crazy into time for cognitive growth and emotion sharing experiences. Please share your memories and “time waster” activities in the comments section – we want to hear them!

Until next week,


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