7 Ways to Enjoy Waiting with Kids

Join 4 Moms, 35 Kids tomorrow as we talk about going out with several young children.

Spending time with your kids, isn’t that one of the things that it’s hard to get enough of?  One of the things that I enjoy doing with our children is waiting in waiting rooms.  I’ve always enjoyed this, ever since our kids were small and we have some wonderful memories of our times spent together, waiting.  Surprising?  Here some of the ways that we have built memories from what most people consider “wasted” time.

1. Tell stories.

This may seem obvious, but waiting in a doctor’s office is the perfect time to tell stories to the children.  Tell classic tales, stories about when your kids were “little” and let them tell you stories.  My kids like to tell about their dreams and they like to make up stories.  If you are a homeschooler and are really ambitious, this is a great time to practice narration.  Tell them a story and have them take turns narrating it back to you.

2. Play thinking games.

When our kids were little they loved playing “I Spy”.  Someone would spot something in the room and tell everyone what color it was and let the others guess until they figure out what it was that the “spotter” saw.  As they’ve gotten older they enjoy “I’m thinking of something”.  One person thinks of something and everyone else asks “yes” or “no” questions until they are able to determine what the person is thinking of.

3. Snuggle with them.

You’re sitting anyway, welcome a child (or two) on your lap.  The kids love it and that leaves more room in the waiting room for other patients.  This is a great time to talk and/or play baby games.

4. Read to them.

Another obvious choice, but it’s a wonderful opportunity to read to your kids.

Once we get back to the exam room and have a little more privacy our selection of activities widens:

5. Play versions of “active” games.

We play games with variations so that we don’t tear the office apart.  Each child has their own space and they know that they need to stay in that space for all of our games.  We play “Simon Says”, “Pat a Cake”,  “Duck, Duck, Goose” (the “it” person points to each of the other people as they say “duck” or “goose”, when they say “goose” the “it” and the “goose” both jump in place 10 times.  The person who finishes last is “it”.

6. Sing songs.

Need I say more?  Our kids love to sing fun and silly songs.  Doing it with Mom?  Even better.  We do this quietly so that  people don’t think we’re completely insane we don’t disturb other patients.

7. Go over memorization work.

I don’t know why kids love doing this, but they do and it’s a great way to review and see how much you can remember with no prompts.

Enjoying  time with my kids instead of fretting over a doctor who is behind schedule works for me.How do you make the most of time spent with your kids?

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21 Responses to 7 Ways to Enjoy Waiting with Kids
  1. Leslie
    March 23, 2010 | 10:27 pm

    What a wonderful way to view this. Thanks for your inspiration!

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  2. Jenny
    March 23, 2010 | 10:45 pm

    GREAT post- we already do so many of these things and it works like a miracle doesn’t it?! All kids need is a little attention most of the time!!!

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  3. Mama Llama
    March 23, 2010 | 10:48 pm

    Great tips. We play eye spy alot, or silly word games. We also tell alot of knock knock jokes!

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  4. Christy
    March 23, 2010 | 10:56 pm

    Great tips! I have used most of them – except for duck duck goose! I am sure that brings smiles to the other waitees!

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  5. Christy Klein
    March 24, 2010 | 1:48 am

    All great ideas! My kids are older now, so we usually just bring books to read. Nice quiet time.

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  6. CookieMonsterKatrina
    March 24, 2010 | 7:22 am

    Great ideas. I do as many of them as I can reign my kids in to do. They are usually so overwhelmed by being someplace new that they can’t settle down. I hadn’t thought of story narration, but that’s a good idea.

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    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    When we are in waiting rooms our children know that they may to pick a chair and sit down on their bum. We do not allow our children to wander around when we are in public for several reasons. Since everyone is sitting down it is easy to play these games.

    When we go back to the exam room and there aren’t chairs for everyone, everyone gets a designated area where they are allowed to play.

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    CookieMonsterKatrina Reply:

    We do the same. The kids have a seat and they stay there, even in the exam room. It’s excellent crowd control, other people appreciate that our kids aren’t climbing all over them, and I can safely focus on filling out forms or checks, or talking to the doctor, because the kids stay put.

    My kids just seem overwhelmed – especially my oldest – by unfamiliar environments. It takes a while before they’ll settle down enough to read a book with me or sing a song. I was just remembering that as I typed.

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  7. Nicki
    March 24, 2010 | 8:03 am

    You are SO right. I usually have a BIG bag of books with us when we go to the doctor. We’ve also played I SPY and the thinking game.

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  8. Jamie
    March 24, 2010 | 8:23 am

    We do alot of these, too! I have never played duck, duck, goose like that, though. I have to remember that! :). Hope you all feel better soon. Keeping you all in our prayers. Our family is still down with whatever it is, too.

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    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Still down, but hope that we’re seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

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  9. Amy Matthews
    March 24, 2010 | 10:50 am

    I love to take my kids to a dr. visit one on one, when I can. I spend that time holding them, smiling with them, whispering to them and laughing with them. I am often in strict mommy mode, which I am not fond of, I am often on guard. I enjoy the waiting time when I do not have anything else to do, nothing else to get to, no housework screaming my name. I have no control over the length of the wait, I just get to take in my littles and love on them.

    Many people hate waiting. I am not one of them!

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    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Taking kids to a doctor visit one on one has never been an option for us, but I can see that it would be a special opportunity to spend time with just them.

    Most of our doctor’s appointments have been OB visits. :)

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  10. Monique
    March 24, 2010 | 1:20 pm

    What I love most is your very first line of this post. I don’t know what it is, but lately I’ve been noticing so much more of the “I CAN’T WAIT” for my kids to go to school, get to college, move out…etc. I was left nearly speechless when a lady told me yesterday that you couldn’t pay her enough to be a stay-at-home mom, and another responded how thrilled she was when her one year old was”finally” old enough to attend “preschool” so she could have alone time. It is SO WONDERFUL to read your post and other ladies comments on how you all enjoy even waiting rooms with your kiddos.

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  11. pam
    March 24, 2010 | 5:06 pm

    I always take colored pencils and while we wait for the doctor they draw on the paper that is on the table (bed). the doctors think it is cute and they think it is fun

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    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Fabulous idea! I’m going to have to do that next time, the kids will love it.

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  12. 'Becca
    March 25, 2010 | 1:19 pm

    Great tips! I also enjoy waiting with my child, who is 5. We commute by public transit every day, 2 buses each way and often some time standing around at the stops, but that’s some of our most fun time together!

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  13. Nikki
    April 8, 2010 | 1:14 pm

    Today I am taking all six kids with me to an hour-long appointment. I have been looking back over several of your older posts for inspiration and guidance. Thanks!

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    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    So how did your appointment go??

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  14. Deirdre
    June 12, 2010 | 12:00 am

    I take some exam table paper and some crayons from my purse and draw maps with roadways and houses, playgrounds, churches, restaurants, etc. Then I allow my little ones to use the few matchbox cars in my purse to navigate the town.

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  15. Rose
    June 27, 2013 | 1:24 pm

    I can’t believe I never thought of reading! We do lots of these, but bringing a novel never occurred to me! Thank you :)

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