Monday, November 13, 2006

Making Do on Mondays: In the Waiting Room

Oftentimes I have to bring multiple children to my medical/dental appointments... or to theirs. Sitting in the waiting room can be a daunting task! The trouble is that I am desperately trying to hide the fact that we are a travelling circus to the staff while managing calm, quiet, and courteous children in a tiny room. Unlike church I can't use a lot of tactics to maintain the peace because I don't have the "House of God" excuse. (For Mass tips, check out this post.) There's just not much of interest to the child in a boring, sterile area with magazines like Good Housekeeping lying around.

So this is what we do:

  • If possible, wait outside the office! Oftentimes, the staff will be fine coming to get you if you simply let them know you'll be right outside.
  • Put a hole puncher and a shoestring in your purse/diaper bag. This is a great little tip I heard about somewhere that can be used in almost all settings. Find a flyer or envelope or scrap paper in the office or your purse and punch a few holes in it... you can make shapes if you want to really get into it. -Then have your child use the shoestring to lace through the holes. This helps them to be focused and quiet.
  • Have long lasting little lozenges the kids can suck on... I like to use Vitamin C tablets as "treats" for the kids...
  • Play finger games: I like the variation of Rock, Paper, Scissors that uses Mosquito, Fish, Bear (I guess it's hard to describe the corresponding gestures here but you can make up your own).
  • One thing that I think makes a big difference is for YOU to change your mindset from one of "How can I have to control this situation?" into one of "How can I engage with my children right now?" Instead of trying to keep everyone quiet and still, have them all stand up and play a game in a mild manner, like Simon Says. Kids love to feel like their parents are involved and interested in what they are doing. You can make simple games for little ones with simple commands. For example, tell your kids to stand tall like a soldier. Then ask them to do various movements corresponding to different animals, beat their chests like gorillas, hunch their shoulders like owls, arch their backs like cats, etc. (Eric Carl has a great kids book on this that would make a great diaper bag addition for just such an occasion). Kids who accomplish "commands" feel so proud of themselves and are eager to please.

~Ellie: Oak Harbor, WA


one of us :: 8:15 AM :: 3 Comments