6 Quiet Time Activities For Doctor Office Visits
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Parents need to teach kids quiet time activities which will allow adults to interact with other adults. I have raised two girls and fully understand that kids like attention and stimulating activities. However, kids need to learn quiet time activities which allow parents the time to have adult conversations.
Although these quiet time activities can be useful in many settings, I believe they are essential for interactions at the doctor’s office. As a practicing Pediatric ENT for over 25 years, I can honestly say that with increased use of electronics, it has become more difficult for parents to get children to participate during visits.
I witness some of the most brutal, unruly tantrums when parents take away cell phones or turn off the volume on tablets. The meltdowns have blown my mind! I previously discussed my concerns about the need for electronic device manners for children. It is vital kids learn to use electronics responsibly and put them away as needed. Parents need to implement strategies right away that teach kids that their devices will be taken away, turned off or shared with siblings from time to time.
To create a set of quiet time activities, each parent should decide what is most interesting for their children. Several quiet time activities should be discussed and practiced at home. Kids will learn that in certain situations, they will be required to entertain themselves with quiet activities that do not include talking to mommy and daddy.
Many parents have explained to me that their children need the volume for the music and games. I sincerely disagree with this idea. We teach our kids acceptable behavior, such as being quiet in the library.
We have the ability to teach our kids that there will be times that they are not able to talk to parents when they want or turn up the volume on electronics. They will learn that the time period is limited before they can resume their normal activities.
Sometimes, I feel a bit silly for writing this post, until another young mom looks at me and asks me to wait while she explains to her child that the doctor needs them to turn the volume off. Seriously? The doctor needs the volume down? No, mothers and fathers need the volume down so they can hear what I am trying to say!
Have you ever apologized to others for the volume being loud on your child’s electronic device? Have you ever apologized for your child having a meltdown when you put away the phone or the tablet? If so, this post is intended to help you.
I am not suggesting anything difficult. I am suggesting that you create a plan, start teaching and using the plan at home so that your kids are used to the situation where quiet time activities are needed.
6 Quiet Time Activities to Teach Your Children
1. Electronics with NO sound.
Electronic devices are an invaluable addition to our lives. Adults and teens frequently use headphones, but most parents simply turn up the volume on the device for younger kids. The awesome uses for electronic devices are too numerous to list. But electronic etiquette is required.
If you cannot turn the volume off, you should consider buying children ear phones which limit the volume. This volume restriction is important to avoid noise induced hearing loss. Toddlers may not be as receptive to headphones so you might consider a fleece headband earphone which may resemble head wear they already own.
I am an ear doctor. So…at some point during the visit, the headphones will need to be removed. In addition to teaching your kids to use devices where the sound is not heard by others in the room, they will need to learn to have no sound!
I highly recommend working on this quiet time activity right away. Although using earphones are helpful, children should also learn to turn off the device and use it without any sound at all. It is irritating to everyone around you when your child has the volume up on their electronics. Please consider only having the volume up when in a private location.
A tried a true activity. It stimulates the imagination and is an activity that will be needed throughout life. Why not use down time in the waiting room or exam room reading a book?
It is very rare that I see young kids reading from actual books in my office. Tablets are not the only way to read. Go old school and carry some regular books.
3. Color / draw
I remember the good old days of having baggies full of crayons. And feeling like I hit the lottery when restaurants gave out free, unbroken crayons. Again, it is rare for me to see kids with crayons or colored pencils in my office.
Coloring and drawing can be done anywhere and improves your child’s fine motor skills and dexterity. And need I remind you that it is quiet.
Simple plastic puzzles, like mini rubik’s cubes, are also a good way to pass the time. Younger kids might be entertained with a simpler Pyramid Cube. Great for dexterity, logic, concentration…and quiet activity.
5. Quiet book:
One of my fellow mom bloggers made a home made quiet book. If you are artsy, this can be something you work on with your kids as a home activity. Then, when you go out, carrying the special book has additional value.
6. A Dr. Momma Original: What I Learned Today Game
This fresh out of my brain, Dr. Momma game, is something I dream about every time I experience an electronic device meltdown. I suggest you create some version of my game where you teach your kids to pay attention in the office. Then, on the way home, each thing they can tell you that they learned earns points for a treat or prize.
Consider creating your own quiet time activities to teach your kids and implement at your next doctor visit!