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Waiting Room Blues

by Lori Sciame | February 15th, 2012 | Preschool

I’ve spent a lot of time in hospital waiting rooms lately. It’s not fun, waiting for a loved one’s surgery to be over, and wondering if he or she will be OK. Time drags. Emotions are raw. Basically, this is not a place I want to be. And the situation is made worse when parents (and even grandparents) with preschoolers in tow let their little ones run wild throughout the shared space.

Don’t misunderstand me; I love kids. I adore their antics and the cute things they say, but not when I’m worried about whether my mother will live to see another day, or if my equally frail father’s cancer has spread.

I also understand that finding babysitters for young ones isn’t always possible. There are times when, even if not the optimum choice, a preschooler must accompany the parent. It’s at these times that parents must realize that they alone are responsible for the care of the child, not the strangers in the surrounding area.

Last week a precious little three-year-old came to the surgery center waiting room with his mother while his dad was being operated on. The little boy was fine for about five minutes, then he began to run around the room in circles, and he began slamming the restroom door… again, and again, and again. Was it his fault he was bored? No, but it was his mother’s fault she did nothing to try to stop his inappropriate behavior. She just watched her cherub disturb everyone in the area. She didn’t even try to redirect this tiny tornado to more positive activities.

Believe me, I know how hard it is to rein in a pre-schooler’s energy; I have three children of my own, but when this energy aggravates those around the child, it needs to be addressed.

Here are three places parents of preschoolers need to make sure that their beloved child does not cause problems for others:

1. Expensive Restaurants

When my children were little, if they misbehaved in an expensive restaurant, I would first take them to the restroom. If that didn’t work, we would leave the establishment and wait in the car for my husband and my other children. I can honestly admit, I felt sad to have to eat my food later, but I am proud I never let any of my children’s meltdowns ruin another person’s special dinner.

2. Adult Events

If you MUST take your child to an adult event, such as an important city council meeting or a theatre performance, make sure to leave the venue if the child acts up. There is nothing more annoying than a child who won’t behave during these types of events.

3. Surgery Waiting Rooms

Please, heed my advice and come prepared with activities to keep your little one quiet. Consider the feelings of the others in the room. You can bring favorite toys, books, and snacks, or even take a walk around the hospital or clinic to burn off excess energy.

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