Wednesday, 14 February 2018


A young friend just told me something she had witnessed recently, and having been brought up differently, it made her sad.  

She was in a waiting room and saw a mother with a fidgety child. The mother was becoming frustrated by the child not sitting still and began to threaten/explain consequences (do the dishes for a week, go to bed half an hour early, no computer ...) to the child if they didn't stay in the seat.  

The receptionist offered some colouring things to the child, but the mother said "No. He can sit still."

I was a bit sad about this too, and having had my fair share of horrific waiting-room scenarios over the years, I knew how the mother would be feeling.  Maybe the worst thing was, when I asked my friend how old the child was (expecting her to say 10 or 11) she said "Probably about 4 or 5."

Whilst some children CAN sit still, and some children can use their imagination and have lovely games in their head while they are waiting - there are children who CANNOT or at least find it VERY TIRING AND DIFFICULT!   I urge you, as a parent, to know your child, and to be on their team to help them out when they need it.

In my (as yet, unpublished) book I've written a piece on having an emergency bag or box for waiting times.  

Here is what I wrote:

This bag can be left in the car for those times when you know you're going to be sitting in a waiting room or waiting in the car for some time.  A very large lunch box with a handle is ideal or a small backpack.  A lunchbox or case is nice to balance on a lap to press on, also nicer to open and peruse all the goodies inside.

Think of the sort of portable items your child would enjoy.  Here's a list to start you off:

- a small ball and cardboard tube to roll the ball down
- 2 small beanbags for juggling or throwing back into the case
- a sheet of stickers
- a tiny notebook
- a clutch pencil that won't need sharpening (if they are old enough not to just want to snap it off)
- a set of wind-up coloured pencils or crayons
- younger children need just a couple of chunky crayons
- finger puppets or tiny dollies
- a pack of cards
- magnets
- a small mirror
- a yo-yo
- pieces of wrapped beeswax modelling clay
- a small travel game with magnetic pieces
- a thin marker pen 
- small pebbles or shells to decorate with the marker pen
- a tiny whiteboard and marker
- pipecleaners
- a small bag of chunky beads to thread on the pipecleaners
- a "Doodles By Debbie Ball" postcard colouring book (PERFECT for waiting rooms!!!)
- a tiny car
- an A5 clipboard with either blank pages or colouring pictures
- interesting but safe bits of electronic devices that have been taken to pieces
- plasticine
- a strip of blu-tac
- a small roll of sellotape

... what else can you think of?

A very organised parent might like to make some tick-off lists to put on the A5 clipboard.  A child can tick-off/fill in things such as:  how many times the receptionist's phone rings, how many people are wearing hats, how many children under 10 are there, number of people in shoes/sandals/jandals, are there five people with beards, two people checking their phones, someone knitting ... etc 


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