Helpful Tips from Parents to Make Your Child's Clinic Visit More Enjoyable
Help During Waiting Times
The Child Life program at American Family Children's Hospital is also available to help parents and children during their visits.
During your child's clinic appointment in the Pediatric Hematology, Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplant Clinic at the American Family Children's Hospital, many things happen and sometimes the appointment day can be very long.
Parents who have experienced the long clinic days have compiled a list of suggestions for helping kids cope while waiting.
- Have a "Clinic Day" bag filled with fun items that only get used on clinic days. Items might include:
- A small chalk board with colored chalk
- Hand-held electronic games
- Favorite books/crossword puzzles/hidden picture books
- Comfort items like a blanket or stuffed animal
- iPod or other mp3 player with earphones
- Audio books
- Paper, colored pencils, colors, markers, glue sticks, small paper punches of different shapes for making "thank you" cards for the gifts your child will inevitably have received (plus, a box of wet wipes for easy cleanup)
- Portable games (like a Rubik's Cube, for example)
- Favorite snacks in a fun lunch box only used for clinic days
- When people ask, "How can I help?", ask them for gift cards or coupons for places like ice cream shops, pizza or fast food restaurants, mini-golf, or movies and use them on clinic days to have something special to look forward to
- Have a "celebration destination" planned for the end of the clinic visit, like a visit to a park, library or another favorite spot
- "Play doctor" and let your child touch and play with some of the items that are around like gloves, stethoscopes, tongue depressors (ask the nurses and doctors first, of course)
- Draw pictures together on the paper that is on the exam table (the clinic has crayons and markers)
- Together with your child, think of a funny or cool name your child's Hickman catheter or port
- Think of a joke you can tell your doctor or nurse, or bring a joke book along and try it out
- Practice or learn a new skill like juggling or magic tricks
- Play the color game or "I Spy" and have your child guess what it is you're looking at
- Have your child draw a picture of his/her nurse
- Encourage your child to pick out a cool notebook and keep a diary of what happened during clinic that day
- Play "Math Frenzy." Count the number of magazines, books or papers on the bulletin board. Have your child add his/her age, subtract your age, add the age of your doctor and see if you both get the same number. And besides, it's fun to find out just how old your doctor really is!
- Put those old magazines to good use. Choose a magazine from the rack and before you open it, as your child to guess 10 things he or she might find pictured within it. Make your own list. The go through the magazine together and try to find the items on your lists.
- Draw numbers, letters or words on each other's backs with your finger and see if you can guess what was written back there. Cursive is tough!
- If your child is between 3 and 10, get a copy of Carol Stock Kranowitz's book, 101 Activities for Kids in Tight Spaces and keep it in your bag. According to several parents, it's a life saver!
- Ask the person who checks you in, or your nurse, if you can watch a DVD movie. The clinic has lots of movies - you just need to ask. There are also hand held video games available as well.
A mother with a lot of clinic experience wrote, "We found being prepared was the best way to combat sometimes long days. If your child gets tired and cranky - that is understandable - but parents if you keep upbeat and patient and don't get sucked into their distress - the child usually won't get too bent out of shape."