Trying to limit your kids’ screen time while in the waiting room? An easy way to do it is to set up clear rules about when and where your child can use an electronic device. For my kids, they know that we don’t take screens into waiting rooms or restaurants. Believe me, there are plenty of other times we use screens, but by having a clear rule about where we don’t use them, it eliminates any questions, whining, or fits about whether or not they can have their DS or tablet. Once you decide where your child won’t use screens, it’s a good idea to have some ways to keep them occupied while you wait. Here is a list of ideas that work for our family in the waiting room. Hopefully, you’ll find some that work for yours too!
Ways to Occupy Your Child in the Waiting Room:
Read The Signs
It’s hard to keep kids in a chair at the waiting room, so let them get up and walk around. New readers will love taking a spin around the waiting room to find words they can read on the signs hanging up. If your child isn’t reading yet, ask them to find all the T’s on a sign. Or, have them identify which T’s are upper case and which are lower case. Your child will truly enjoy this screen-free activity and your child’s teacher will appreciate it too!
Sometimes I just ask each kiddo how many blue chairs there are in the waiting room or how many nurses walk past us or how many pictures of fish are on the wall. This game is so simple that your children can quiz each other this way too!
Kids of all ages love playing Eye Spy! My teen and tweens still play this with me while waiting for the doctor.
Head Shoulder Knees and Toes
Head Shoulders Knees and Toes is a classic screen-free game that will get your child moving and keep him busy while he waits.
My kids love 20 Questions! We do simplify it for our younger kiddos: We only do people that we know and we can ask as many questions as we like.
This is another great game for getting your child up and moving. Let your child take a turn being Simon. Try to get other kids in the waiting room to play along!
UNO or Other Card Game
I typically keep a deck of UNO cards in my car or purse. My older kids love playing UNO and I do too!
This list includes both passive and active games so if your child is at the doctor’s office for a well check you can choose an active game. If your child is under the weather, you have plenty of passive activities to choose. Use these games and make up some of your own to use anywhere you might be waiting with your child, the eye doctor, in line at the post office, at a restaurant, or while a sibling is at an activity to make your screen-free time a fun time!