I went to donate blood the other day at my church, and I pretty much go everywhere with my 3 children (ages 5 and under) in tow. Upon arrival, a Red Cross worker informed me that I could not do the interview-portion with kids. Now my two eldest could wait quietly while I went behind the room divider for 5 minutes, but my heart sank a little when I looked at my 22 month old son who is very much in the "I-Need-To-See-Mommy-At-All-Times-Stage". Luckily, I spied my friend's mother and the table of cookies. After setting them up, we survived the 5 minute "apart" time without a fuss, and I was reunited with them for the blood donation.
I lined up folding chairs next to my gurney, and my three little munchkins watched as I was drained for 10 minutes. I had several workers come and comment, "Oh my! They are all sitting so quietly and nicely while Mommy gives blood!" Honestly, I get that a lot--as if people truly expect children to misbehave everywhere--and I understand where they are coming from. I've been to restaurants, libraries, theaters, etc. where children are NOT sitting quietly and following directions.
Many of my friends say, "Your kids must be so much calmer than mine!" or "How do you do it?" First off, my eldest is pretty calm, but my other two kiddos are pretty much typical,wild children that can run and scream with the best of them--during the right time and place. The first thing about my kids in public places is that I bring them to public places. As I said in the beginning my children go everywhere I go: pharmacies banks, church, doctor's appointments, etc. They are VERY used to waiting at a variety of places, which helps them know what is expected of them. I expect my children to be quiet, sit still, and be polite. Is it always easy? No! Do I bring emergency snacks? Yes, but I don't immediately use my arsenal of entertainment: boredom can be good. They are learning how to be quiet and focus on their own thoughts and surroundings.
So the Easy Rules for today are:
#425: Don't be afraid to take your kids in the community; they need to learn societal expectations of children.
#372: Do have emergency snacks and books in your bag just in case the wait is super long.