Thursday, June 17, 2010

Parenting Hack: Loyalty Card as Time Occupier

This morning I took our little guy with me to Shul. All told, the service is about an hour. In the past few weeks, I've just stolen a few toys from the pre-school setup they have there, and between that, and wondering around while folks pray, he's usually quite occupied and content.

Today, though, he was getting a bit restless, as he had already mastered putting the plastic dinosaurs in his mouth at every possible angle. One of the fellow congregants came over, and suggested a hack she likes to use with her grandchildren: she gives them a brightly colored supermarket loyalty card to chew on.

She produced a red one from Giant, and sure enough, our little man went to town on it. Between examining it, chewing on it, and practicing picking it up (a challenging exercise), he was kept entertained for what was basically an eternity (say, about 20 minutes).

I, of course, like that the hack is totally portable, and seems to be safer than chewing on metal keys or other odds and ends I have in my pockets.

The congregant also suggested that you can punch a whole in the card and use links to attach it to the stroller or car seat so when it gets dropped, it doesn't go far.

Like all hacks, I guess this one is obvious in retrospect. But still, anything that can keep a baby occupied for a few minutes is worth spreading the news about.

Update: Shira mentioned tonight the obvious point that the loyalty card sitting in your wallet is probably pretty grimy and not baby friendly. What I was actually suggesting was that you have a special card just for kids to play with -- this card wouldn't be run through magnetic swipe machines, or handed around to random cashiers. Sure, it'll get dirty -- but no more so than any other toy taken out into the wild.

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