Problem: Your daughter spends 45 minutes each way on the bus to middle school. Is there a way for her to minimize the boredom?
Answer: “It’s basically the same thing as a grown-up trying to use a commute so that time’s not wasted,” says time management expert Laura Vanderkam, author of “168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think.”
And because she’s not stuck in the driver’s seat, your daughter has a number of options. One of them is to do nothing.
“Some kids are more introverted by nature, and they really will enjoy having the time to stare out the window,” Vanderkam says. “Especially if at school there’s the back-and-forth of dealing with other children and teachers and having to be ‘on’ all day. Many kids have a rich inner life and riding the bus can help them access that.”
Other kids will be driven mad by the monotony.
“If your kid doesn’t get carsick, reading is the best way to use the time,” Vanderkam says. “It’s a great time to read the stuff you’re not going to read at school and probably won’t take time to read at home. Get your child hooked on some really enjoyable series — less intellectually rigorous, but still fun.”
The bus, with its bumps and stops and obnoxious peer group members, isn’t necessarily the place to tackle Tolstoy, after all.
If reading-induced nausea is an issue, a device — particularly with headphones — is a good option.
“You can try to get your kid interested in listening to stories or music that you pick out together,” Vanderkam says.
Don’t sweat it if she wants to use the time for some frivolity, though: gossiping with pals, listening to pop music, paging through a magazine.