How to make a long wait with little kids not quite so terrible

Make finger puppets out of your fingers!
When I was a kid I spent hours and hours traveling between my mom’s house and my dad’s house. They lived 200 miles apart, which meant that every school vacation and 3-day weekend began and ended with a four-hour car ride for me, from age 4 until about 14 when I started having my own social life. I had no iPad to get lost in. Borrriiiiiing.

Now I have long-car-ride-phobia. The four-hour drive to my dad’s house feels like a full day’s work. And I don’t even drive — my husband does it.

Road trips are not really the same as plain old waiting. I’m not sure which is more anxiety-producing for parents of young children. You’ll have to tell me what you think.

Let’s say you’re boarding a long plane fight with your children. You’re armed with an iPad and headphones and a crapload of snacks. After getting situated with your carry-on stowed properly and seatbelts fastened, you’ve been told that all electronic devices must be turned off. Fine, you expected that. But suddenly, the wait on the runway has been extended. In just forty-five minutes you’ll be in flight. FORTY FIVE MINUTES sitting next to someone who does not care to page through the airline magazine or just lean back and close her eyes.

Here’s when you need a piece of paper, a pen, and a good imagination.

I was asked to comment on activities to help make a long wait fun — a topic that we included in Stuff Every Mom Should Know — and here’s what I said:

What games do you play to pass the time?

For more parenting videos like this one, check out Kids in the House.