We’ve nothing against technology.
It’s helped us through long car journeys, toddler tantrums and family meals out. But if you sometimes wish you could break the habit, try one of these ideas instead…
1) A lot of stick: Stickers are always fun, whether they’re putting them on paper, the table, themselves or you. Try taking a magazine with free stickers on train or bus journeys to keep little hands and minds busy.
2) Scribble away: For toddlers, scribbling with chunky crayons is a novelty and should buy you 5 minutes to eat your dinner. Older children will enjoy the challenge of being given something to draw – whether it’s you, their dinner or a 3-eyed monster.
3) By the book: Try keeping a lift-the-flap or touch-and-feel board book in the change bag to whip out when your toddler’s getting bored. “We got an Usborne science book for much older children because it has so many flaps. It entertained both our toddler and our 8-year-old god-daughter in one sitting,” says mum Sara.
4) Zip through it: Distract a bored toddler by giving them something grown-up to fiddle with, like your shoelaces, their coat zip or a highchair clip. It’s a tactile, absorbing task that teaches them useful skills.
5) Add nursery rhymes to your playlist: If your toddler’s obsessed by playing nursery rhymes on your phone, try downloading the music for long car journeys and make the family sing along (OK, cringe! But if it stops a meltdown, it’s worth it, right?).