As much as I hate to admit it, paying attention to my kids does work. As I wrote yesterday, I am not a fan of dragging the other boys to watch their brother's hockey practice. I have often resorted to video games to keep them distracted and entertained so I can watch the practice and chat with my friends. This works sometimes but I have noticed that the magic of the video game has been fading. My kids were beginning to act more entitled and having a hard time sharing and turning off the games. As a Bejeweled addict I understand.
Yesterday I decided to try a new tactic. I packed a bag with books, puzzle books, wiki sticks and also hockey balls and sticks. I brought along Middle Man's church homework also. It worked. Not perfectly. One kid was watching over the shoulder of another child on their video game for a while, but I eventually distracted them taking them off to another corner to talk about their Bible study questions. There were also a few close calls of hockey practice balls hitting a spectator or two. But overall it worked. Bringing engaging toys and books, spending time talking and playing with the boys, all worked to entertain the little ones and keep the crying and whining of them and me to a minimum.
It is more work to be prepared, more work to engage, but so much more rewarding and a lot less embarrassing.