Creative Ways to Keep Kids Quiet, Happy, and Healthy in the Doctor’s Office

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I learned early on when my children were young that sitting in the pediatrician’s office waiting was not a fun time. You often see mothers or dads sitting there with blank looks while their children climb on them and everything else. Isn’t it strange how children can be sick but suddenly the child acts as if he/she has never been sick a day in their lives when they hit the lobby of the doctor’s office? I decided early on that we were going to try something different on our periodical visits to the doctor.

First of all we know that children have a short attention span and even though we as parents are always working to get them to sit still we sometimes need to get more creative. In almost every doctor’s office there are some kind of toys and a television. But more often than not the television is not on or on the fritz or our child is simply not interested. Then there are the toys and that is a whole other story. Okay, there is one of two scenarios at play here. Your child is not sick and you are there for a regular checkup or your child has something you can not treat at home and it is probably contagious. Either way the community toys are not a good idea. I have often wondered if they are trying to drum up more business by passing the sickness around in greater numbers by putting these toys out there. I suppose they feel obligated to entertain the children but isn’t there another way?

My idea is probably really expensive for the doctor but wouldn’t it be more practical to do away with the waiting room all together and just have more treatment rooms? Have toys in each room that are easily disinfected after each child leaves and when people get there just usher them to their room to wait? The waiting room of a pediatrician’s office is one of the scariest places I know. So over the years I have had to get really creative and I will share some of those ideas with you that are just starting out on the journey.

1. Stay Outside – My number one rule for pediatrician visits was eventually not to stay in the waiting room at all. I would actually ask them if I could wait in an empty room if my child was really sick or I would sign in and let them know to come get me in the hall outside of the office. You may not have a hall but that was my option. I would always bring a ball or small toy cars for my children to play with, something we could carry easily in my purse or baby bag. We would sit in the hall either on the benches that were furnished by the elevators or just on the floor. I came right out and told them that my children were contagious or that my children were well and I would not be subjecting either party to the illness. How could they argue?

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2. Games to play once you get to your room – We made up different kinds of games when we got to the room itself. My son loved to play find the penny. I would dig out a penny and have him hide his eyes and I would hide it somewhere around where I was sitting. I would tell him if he was cold, warm, or hot. He could play this game for quite a while before getting bored.

3. Bring their favorite books or magazines – Even though they offered books in the doctor’s office I did not let my children partake. I tried to bring our own books and magazines to read with them. My daughter loved to read and my son loved the I Spy books, Where’s Waldo, and the Highlight Magazine with the hidden pictures. That would keep them busy for quite awhile as well.

4. Tongue Depressors – They always have a supply of tongue depressors on hand in the treatment rooms and our doctor did not mind us using a couple while we were waiting. I would tear off a couple of pieces of paper from a notebook out of my purse and wad them up and the kids would use the tongue depressors to catapult their paper and see whose would go the farthest. Or many times they have cotton balls available that we would use to catapult! Note: We would always clean up our messes when we were done.

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5. Rubber Gloves – Here is another fun product that is always available in the treatment room. You probably want to make sure it is okay with your doctor or nurse before you do this but ours assured us it was just fine. The kids would each get one and try blowing them up or if they were too young I would blow them up for them. They would use them like those rubber fingers and sort of have a sword fight or if I only had the one child we would sometimes fill them with water and poke a tiny pin hole in a finger and pretend we were milking a cow. This would have to be done over the sink!

6. Puzzles – Sometimes I would bring smaller puzzles in my purse for them to put together or those little puzzles you get at the dollar store where you have to get the little metal ball into a certain area to win. Another one they loved from the dollar store was the face with the metal shavings and the magnet. They could sit for quite some time creating beards and mustaches on that funny looking character.

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7. Simon Says – The kids liked to play Simon Says and being shut off in a small room it was easy to keep them in one place to play. I particularly liked when Simon said to stand perfectly still for at least a minute! Don’t you love it when you get to come up with it instead of Simon?

8. I Spy – Both my children loved to play a version of I Spy. Like “I see something that is yellow, what is it?” Hopefully your room has a big window because there is not a whole lot to spy in a small treatment room.

9. Coloring Books – Bring your own coloring books and crayons if your child likes to color. Or just pull out a notebook and pen or pencil from your purse and let them draw or play a version of Pictionary. You draw or let them draw and the other one guess what it is. One of my children likes to do this, the other not so much.

10. Handheld games – If your child is old enough to play a handheld game this is always a nice pastime for them and sometimes for you. Sometimes you just want to sit and be still for awhile and this is a good way to keep them still so you can get a minute of peace.

11. Toy soldiers or plastic animals – My daughter had a cloth barn filled with farm animals that she pretty much liked to take everywhere with her and play with. She also loved her little ponies. My son liked army men, toy cars, and yo-yos. He had a yo-yo that lit up and I would let him bring it along to practice his skills while we were in the treatment room.

These are just a few of the ways I used with my children when we had to wait at the doctor’s office or other places. I know it is hard to get little ones to sit still when there is nothing to do, but hopefully I have given you some ideas for entertaining them quietly.

Author Bio:

Jason Miner plays a vital role for www.blogcarnival.com.  He is an expert in writing topics of different categories.  He is helping the carnival team to grow & working on making this an even better place for bloggers.

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