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My daughter was born with Spina bifida and it requires her to have a lot of doctors appointments at our local children’s hospital. The hospital is about an hour and a half to two hours away depending on traffic. In order to be more efficient, we try to schedule as many appointments as possible on the same day. She also has Spina bifida clinic appointments that last all day too. Going to all day long toddler doctors appointments are tiring and draining, to say the least.
How does anyone survive these all day long appointments with a toddler?
Here are three ways we *kind of* survive with our toddler’s all-day appointments. I jokingly say kind of because there is no telling what kind of mood a toddler in the throws of terrible twos will be in on any given day. Even if you prepare your little heart out, they still might have a rough day.
3 Ways to Survive Toddler Doctors Appointments
1. Plenty of Snacks and Drinks
Bring plenty of snacks and drinks. Seriously. Like, bring the whole grocery store.
My daughter HATES going to the doctor. She almost always starts crying at triage and continues until we leave. LITERALLY.
She is already indecisive, but add in the bad mood, and it magnifies. One minute she wants crackers, the next minute she wants chips, the next peanut butter, and jelly sandwich. It goes on and on and on.
Keeping plenty of snacks and drinks keeps us from buying them at the hospital where the price is about triple what you would pay at the grocery store.
2. Toys and Activities
Bring some toys and activities. These will help keep my daughter, Ryann, occupied in between all of those appointments. *Sometimes* it will keep her kind of happy while the doctor is in the room too.
I try to bring toys without a lot of pieces so there is less to clean up and worry about keeping together. I usually let my daughter play games and watch videos on her tablet. She thinks this is a treat since she doesn’t get to use her tablet that often.
3. Plenty of Breaks for Everyone……… Even Parents
This is very important. Do not try to stay in the room the whole time. Take turns walking up and down the hall with your child. My husband and I do this with our daughter. The one walking up and down the hall just stays close in case the doctor comes into the room. This helps keep my daughter from having a meltdown.
During our Spina bifida clinic appointment, we have about an hour break in between imaging and the appointments. We usually go to lunch at a restaurant close to the hospital, or we bring our own lunch and just walk outside.
We even take turns getting out by ourselves if the appointment gets too stressful. Not to be Debbie Downer, but whenever we go to the Spina bifida clinic appointment, we almost always talk about what is “wrong” with our daughter and almost always mention some type of surgery. This is very disheartening and like the wind was let out of your sail for parents. Like I said, I am not trying to be negative, just realistic and transparent.
All day long doctor’s appointments are rough on the parents and the children. I don’t like all day long appointments, but I cannot take a lot of time off work just to go to one appointment. It is just more economical to stack them up and go to a bunch on one day.
I also try not to schedule my daughter for any therapy appointments the day before and day after a day full of doctor’s appointments. She usually takes a day or so to rest and get in a better mood.
What are some tips you use to get through doctors appointments with your child? Let me know in the comments below.