Hospitals or doctor’s waiting rooms are not necessarily the most interesting places to be, so, even when there is a really wonderful event happening, like, say, the birth of a baby brother or sister, you have to understand if a child is not extremely happy all the time… Boredom can turn even the nicest of children right on their heads, can’t it!? Luckily, it doesn’t have to be that way. There are plenty of little tricks that you can use to keep your kids happy and help the whole situation progress smoothly.
To start with, let’s tackle the issue of ‘littler kids’… These are all relatively easy to do, and not too noisy, but should provide a couple of minutes of distraction, and will hopefully even come in handy for those routine visits to the doctor or when someone’s not feeling too well.
- Simon Says – remember, you don’t need to do this one standing up… instructions like ‘Simon says, touch your nose’ or ‘tug on your left ear’ work just as well.
- I Spy – A waiting room might not be the most interesting place for a little one, but the phrase ‘I spy with my little eye something beginning with the letter…’ can create a sense of mystery that is sure to spark their interest. On top of that, an activity like this offers ample opportunity for vocabulary expansion and lateral thinking.
- Coloring in – one thing I always used to have with me was a box of crayons and a small notepad, and Those days are almost here again! Another great idea would be to grab a couple extra color in menus the next time you’re at your kids’ favorite restaurant and keep them in your bag for emergencies.
- Find the alphabet – this one works better with older kids. Ask your little one to look around the room and find the letter A (this could be in a sign or on the cover of a magazine) or an object starting with the letter A. If you live in a multi-lingual country or if your little one is picking up a second language, this is also a great opportunity to get them to think of options in the second language.
For older children it can be both easier and more difficult. Taking a book along is a great option, but to be honest, I know my 12-year-old is much more likely to be complaining about the fact that there is no wifi in the waiting room… 🙂 Kids, right?! If you have an older child and can relate, worry not! I have a suggestion or two that should help! These ideas are all suggestions that make more sense for a maternity or ‘labor and delivery’ waiting room specifically, as this is most likely going to involve a long but exciting and happy wait.
- ‘Master of ceremonies’ – get your older child to be in charge of the littler one’s entertainment… ask them to read aloud or act out a story in one of the kids books that you should be able to find in any waiting room. This gives the older child a sense of responsibility and helps them feel a part of the action.
- Photographer – assign your older child to be the official photographer.
- Interviewer – get your child to use that phone they love so much so interview family members, including the younger ones. Ask them to record video clips of everyone’s welcome messages to the new baby, or to make a forecast on baby’s eye or hair color.
Another thing to keep in mind is that, just like Mom and New Baby need a bag of goodies for the time in hospital, any little family members’ time in hospital will be a lot more comfortable if they have a few essentials. Here is a list of things to pack for siblings…
- A change of clothes (a t-shirt and a pair of socks may be sufficient)
- A travel pillow or favorite stiffed toy
- A story book or coloring in book and some crayons
- Snacks – a juice and a small packet of cookies or an apple can really come in handy.
- A children’s camera for taking fun snaps
- A tablet or smartphone – if you are going to be at the hospital for a while, it may not be a bad idea to purchase a movie on an app like google play and have it downloaded and ready to go. Although not always necessary, sometimes these things can take a lot longer than expected, and then you’ll be thanking your lucky starts you decided to have a back up plan!
- Head phones – for the tablet, if you decide to go this route.
Anyway, I hope you’ve found this list helpful. As they say, the arrival of a new baby is an exciting thing. By being well prepared and covering all your bases, you can help ensure that even the littlest members of your family also remember this as a great experience!
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