Taking your child to the doctor can be a nerve-racking experience for both the parent and the child. Many pediatric offices have relieved some of their patient’s anxiety by providing entertainment or toys for the children while they wait. For the toys to be useful, they need to be simple, easy to keep germ free, and engaging for children of all ages.
While creating a waiting room full of anxiety, distracting entertainment can seem a bit overwhelming. It actually can be easy and quite affordable. Simple choices in decor can make a world of difference in the eyes of a child.
So before we talk about the toys or activities that can be helpful in the waiting room, we would do well to keep in mind that the patient’s experience starts when their parents open the office door. The moment the child lay eyes on the room, their anxiety can diminish or can increase. If the color scheme is engaging but not overwhelming, this can do much to put the child’s emotions at ease. While children respond to colors that are bold and bright, if there are too many bright and bold colors in their faces, this can heighten their anxiety.
As the child looks around the room, there should be a variety of mood-enhancing spaces from which the child can choose. More physical activity can be placed in a bold, more vividly colored area. A cool color pallet for calmer activities, such as reading or drawing, would be better in a more muted color schemed area.
Now that we have an idea of the needed color schemes to promote a calm and engaging atmosphere. Let’s talk about four ideas for activities or toys you can add to your waiting room to make the time pass quickly.
Create a Life-Size Magnetic Chalkboard Wall. Paint a wall or partial wall in your waiting room with chalkboard paint. The paint comes in various colors and is relatively inexpensive. Creating a draw on the wall experience can be very inviting to both children and their parents. Making the wall magnetic just adds another dimension of fun, and more children will find the activity inviting.
Create a Craft Corner. Offering your patients the ability to hands-on create a take-home craft will help make the time pass quickly. Medical and surgical supplies that can be found right around the office such as tongue depressors and long ended cotton swabs make great crafting supplies. Allowing your patients to play with medical supplies in the waiting room can help them to feel less overwhelmed if the doctor uses those and other supplies on them during their visit. Other craft supplies you can offer are paper and colored dot stickers. These are just a few of the endless possibilities for items in your waiting room craft corner.
Supply Activity Bins. A quiet corner that contains books and bins of developmental and sensory toys can keep children entertained for hours. Children could even enjoy sitting on the floor on a leakproof water mat while playing with a vast array of sensory toys. Some kid favorite sensory toys are puzzles, fidget cubes, soft foam blocks, and hopper balls.
Video and Gaming Entertainment. Another popular choice for the pediatric waiting room is the playing of child learning videos. Learning videos are designed to engage the child and ask back only what the child wants to give. This is an excellent choice for patients that come in with extreme anxiety. In addition to learning videos, some waiting rooms choose entertainment systems with learning games for their patents to play. Videos and electronic games are a very effective way to alleviate anxiety the in minds and hearts of young ones. It can make time fly by.
These four simple but effective ideas for your pediatric waiting room will make children want to be in the waiting room of your pediatric clinic. Parents appreciate it when doctors and clinics go the extra mile to make their family feel welcomed by offering a positive visual and emotional experience.
Take a look at your clinic waiting room and see what adjustments you can make to be more welcoming to the families you serve. The kids will come back willingly, and the parents will bring them without resistance. Going to the doctor will be a fun trip, something to look forward to in the minds of your patients. Start making your pediatric clinic more kid-friendly.