Kids often associate going to the doctor or visiting the hospital with illness and shots. Doctors can mitigate kids’ discomfort by making the waiting room a welcoming place for kids of all ages. Children who enjoy their time in the waiting room will be less anxious about visiting the doctor. With the right design elements and entertainment, doctors’ waiting rooms will welcome kids of all ages.
- Start with durable furniture that fits kids’ bodies. Furniture made of nonporous materials like plastic are easy to disinfect and stand up to kids’ play habits. Be sure to include plenty of comfortable adult seating as well; older children and teenagers generally prefer a bit more space.
- If the waiting room will be divided into “sick” and “well” areas, it is important that the sides offer equal facilities. This detail will prevent children from going to play with something that they can only get on the “other side,” thereby containing contagious germs.
- Consider converting an area into a private room for fussy babies or nursing mothers. An accessible exam room can be outfitted with a rocking chair and a dimmer switch, so that moms can care for infants in a soothing environment. Carpeting on the walls provides sound insulation, as well.
- Choose a bright, cheerful color scheme that suits both genders. Bold, primary colors are a popular option. If the office serves children of all ages, avoid more juvenile decorations like cartoon characters, so that adolescents will not feel like they have outgrown the office.
- Offer a wide variety of reading materials for different age groups, including teens and parents. Gender-neutral picture books work for younger children, while adolescents may prefer magazines about celebrities or current events. Be sure to inspect books and magazines regularly and remove any that have become damaged or outdated.
- Toddlers appreciate simple activity tables that allow them to manipulate moving parts. Because this age group still likes to put everything in their mouths, it is critical that pieces do not present a choking hazard. Both magnetic sand tables and rollercoaster tables are great options for inquisitive little hands. See more waiting room toys for kids.
- Avoid toys that emit noises or contain rattling parts. These toys can awaken sleepy kids and eventually wear on the staff’s nerves. Opt instead for quiet, educational toys that will appeal to kids of different age groups.
- Provide plenty of tissues, hand sanitizers, and trash cans, along with a water fountain. Hang placards with illustrated instructions on how to use each without spreading germs.
A comfortable waiting room eases the stress of visiting the doctor—for parents and children alike. Smart details will make any hospital or doctor’s office waiting room an inviting and entertaining place for visitors of all ages.