I don’t schedule ‘sit and wait’ times but occasionally the children are required to wait – usually because they were too fast for me. For example, they clean-up their toys, wash their hands and sit down for lunch while I finish making lunch and dish up the food.
If they are seated before I’m finished plating the food then they will have a short period of ‘waiting’ time. Sometimes when they have to wait they will play ‘I Spy’. I’ve written about this game before — here.
We don’t use the dining table for any purpose other than meals so we have some rules here to encourage appropriate table manners and conversation. Basically the rules are ‘Keep your hands to yourself and talk politely using words.’ Really, those rules apply other places too but at the table we discourage ‘actions’ and “talk politely using words” is better than “stop waving your arms”. The “hands to yourself” rule is important here because the children don’t have the option to walk away when someone else is poking at them.
Usually the children are capable of sustaining conversations while they wait. Often they have stories to share that they forgot about when they were ‘busy’ in the play room or outdoors. Some may say that ‘waiting time’ is actually ‘thinking time’.
Occasionally if they are tired or overexcited and it may be necessary for me to redirect or guide the conversations. Usually though they lead the conversations. When they are not interested in chatting about their day or making plans for later they will play I Spy or something similar. Recently they began something new – they have been making up riddles.
I find these riddles interesting or amusing and, although I’m usually busy with meal prep, I’ve managed to write a few of them down;
- Child 1 – I have long ears
- Child 2 – A rabbit?
- Child 1 – No, there is more. I am yellow and brown. I step on things. I’m in the Lion King Movie.
- All the children – A giraffe!
- Child 2 – My turn. I have feathers
- All the children – A bird?
- Child 2 – No, I have things sticking out of my head.
- All the children – A PEACOCK!!
- Child 2 – Yes! (note-peacocks are currently one of their favourite creatures but maybe we should learn some more about them).
- Child 3 – I roar
- Child 1 – A lion?
- Child 3 – I have a long tail
- Child 1 – A dinosaur?
- Child 3 – Yes! You win!
Sometimes it is hard to stay focused on getting lunch ready 🙂 I’m considering pursuing riddles further – perhaps as a group activity or craft. For now though, it is a great game to play while you wait.