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A thing that’s not fun to do when you’re a parent is take your young children to the pediatrician’s office. There are endless reasons why the doctor’s office isn’t fun—it means your kid is hurt, sick, or has some freaky-looking rash; it’s an annual check-up, which might mean shots are in their future; your kid will find gross things to lick; and the doctor’s office is going to be backed up, so your kid is going to have to wait.
We can’t always prevent them from becoming hurt, sick, or needing a shot, but we can keep them occupied in a germ-free way while you’re sitting in the exam room, waiting for their doctor: Simply bring along a washable marker and some stickers to decorate the exam table’s paper cover.
How to keep your kid busy at the pediatrician’s office
The idea comes from Susie Allison of Busy Toddler (whose Instagram feed is full of brilliance, by the way). Allison says:
After countless instances of my kids testing the legitimacy of “Lord of the Flies” at their check-ups…I came up with this hack years ago, and I still do it every time.
BRING A WASHABLE MARKER & DOT STICKERS.
On the paper, draw their name, letters, squiggles, math problems… ANYTHING. It’s intricate work, takes focus and TIME (which we usually have plenty of while waiting).
That paper is one of the few things you can count on being free of germs, and the doctor is going to trash it the second you walk back out the door anyway (although your child might want to take their masterpiece home with them, and that’s okay, too).
Allison offers an important caveat to ensure we do this responsibly: Make sure the marker is washable (no Sharpies). And don’t forget to use this trick to make the sticker-peeling task easier and less frustrating for little fingers.