Monday, 24 March 2014

Managing Appointments

Along with our large family we have an insane number of appointments every week so we need to be creative so our children aren't wasting away in waiting rooms.  Depending on where the appointment is and what it is for depends on how we plan for it.

Once a week we go for the bulk of all our therapy appointments, we found one business that has occupational therapy, speech therapy, physical therapy and behavioral therapy.  With 10 children currently having regular therapy in these disciplines it is not uncommon to have a day with 25+ appointments taking up to 5 hours.  For this reason alone it was important to find a business that met our needs.  For these appointments the children are seen individually and Mom or Dad checks in with the therapist after the appointment.  During the appointments the children that are waiting their turn will go for a walk or to the neighborhood playground with Mom or Dad. While at the park we will find a picnic table for eating our lunch at and we may color, play a game or work on some school work with playground breaks.

For appointments with doctors and specialists where the parent must meet with the professional we plan according to the appointment.  We have 7 medically complex children that are regularly seen by the same medical team so quite often we have appointment blocks that work through seeing all the children.  For these appointments we bring a support person who will "school" the children, play games, read etc.  in the waiting room.  If it is a block of appointments that quite often means we are the only ones in the waiting room.

We also quite often have to travel to another city for hospital visits - if possible we try to travel the day before and the day after the appointment not to exhaust anyone.  When in different communities if the child is healthy enough we will visit tourist attractions/parks to make the trip more enjoyable, kind of like a mini vacation.

There is also the occasional waiting at a siblings activity which can be made enjoyable for the spectator.  While watching a sport the siblings can cheer for the participant or play nearby.  In our family quite often while one sibling has volleyball or soccer practice during a break some of the team members will come play with the younger siblings.  The younger siblings have become the teams number one cheerleaders because they love the attention the teams give them.

When at all possible we leave the siblings that don't have appointments at home so their life continues as per normal.  We don't want them resenting the family member that has all the appointments and would like as normal as possible childhood for all.

For us it is important that the children continue being children
-we don't expect them to sit quite and wait (all the time) we engage them, we use this time
-schooling can happen anywhere
-a support person is always valuable (especially for multiple appointments)
-we always bring books or games and interact/play with our child/children
-happy children are better behaved children

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1 comment:

  1. Great!! I can imagine what a nightmare some of these waiting times could be!! I hate waiting with only a handful of my kids for a few hours at doctor's appointments. Great tips!