10 Things You Can Do Right Now with Your Child at the Doctor’s Office


You made it to the doctor on time, but now you are stuck in the waiting room! Here are a few things to help you and your child pass the time!

  1. Prep for the Appointment: Use this extra down time to help calm any pre-appointment jitters. Help your child transition by describing what will happen between now and when they enter the exam room. This is a good time to break the news about shots so they don’t come as a total surprise.3
  2. Doctor Pretend Play: Allow your child a chance to pretend to be the doctor! It is a fun and easy way to have your child feel more comfortable.
  3. Magazine Collage: There are always an abundance of old magazines in the waiting room. Ask the receptionist if you can use one for an art project. Tear or borrow scissors to make a temporary collage of magazine images.
  4. Magazine Drawing: Ask the receptionist if you can use one of the older magazines as a sketch pad. Your child can add their own illustrations to the images in the magazine.
  5. Chair Exercises: Get in a little gross motor movement while sitting in the waiting room. In a seated position have your child place their palms on either side of their upper thighs and try to lift themselves up using only their arms. You can also have your child sit on the edge of their seat and have them lift their legs up and down slowly. This engages the abs and helps them build core strength. It will also test their self-control since your child’s urge will be to swing their legs back and forth quickly. You can also search for more ideas on the web using “seated exercises.”4
  6. Play Charades: Take turns miming different activities (eating ice cream, reading a book, etc.).
  7. Play Categories: Take turns selecting a topic and then work together to make a list of all the things in that category. For example, if you select the topic “Animals,” take turns listing all the animals you can think of. For an extra challenge use a letter of the alphabet as the category subject.
  8. Stack Something: No blocks in sight? Not a problem! Grab cups, pens, magazines, or even appointment cards and start building a tall tower!
  9. Practice with Zippers, Shoelaces, and Buttons: Take advantage of this quiet time by having your child practice their fine motor skills. To make it a little more exciting allow them to practice on your clothing.
  10. Write a Thank You Note: This is a simple but impactful activity! It helps the child recognize the role of the doctor as someone who helps take care of them and not someone who is scary. It also helps your child build a habit of gratitude. Who knows, it may also make your doctor’s day!

Have other great waiting room activities? Please share!