Thursday, January 06, 2011

Multiple kids-- one appointment!

Yesterday I received this question:
Rachel has left a new comment on your post "Adventures in a different type of blogging": 
I'm curious how you handle doctor's appointments when more than one child comes? How do you focus on each child's appointment and talk to the doctor while still doing "crowd control"? We're about to have a second special little one and I know that both of them will continue to have a lot of appointments and I'm not sure how to manage that. 

There's two different ways I can do it.  If it's anywhere from 1-3 kids that are coming with me (at the moment... but I think this number is about to rise), then I am comfortable going to the appointment on my own and cycling through the kids and taking care of everything.  If I have 4 or more kids coming along, though, I will bring a grandparent or babysitter along to help.

For times I'm flying solo, I strongly suggest a stroller if there's more than one that requires a constant eye.  Wednesday's ENT appointments, for example, went very smoothly because I had my mom with me and I had the triple stroller along.  Emma was content to sit in the stroller until her turn (last).  Brianna is independent and doesn't need wheels.  The two boys also were in the stroller and we did the "baby swap" throughout the visit.

Having medical records at the touch of a button with a blog will be REALLY helpful because I won't have to say "I don't remember when his tubes were... June? July?  Oh, right... it was almost August (Oops!)."  Instead everyone's info "should" be readily accessible.  I always bring a few books and if there's someone that I know is particularly irritable at doctor's visits then I try to find something special for them.  For a while we had a Baby Einsteins "mp3 player" with a caterpillar handle.  Emma was ONLY allowed to play with that toy during doctor's visits!  My kids especially love photo albums with pictures of the family, so those stayed in my car for a while.

I also set up expectations for the kids during visits.  Rather than going with their Whims during appointments, I also tell them "no, wait, sit nicely, etc" instead of arguing with the child.  A second request (of the same) generally gets a response of "I already told you, now it just needs to be happen."

I teach the kids from their first visit that they don't play on the floor, climb on things, or mess with the doctor's equipment. I usually keep a 'restaurant' pack of crayons in my purse so they can draw on the paper covering the table.

The kids get 'used to' having to behave while we have a different one being seen. Yes, there are multiple disabled kids.  No, I don't let them get away with anything that a typical kid wouldn't be allowed to do! :)

Hope that helps, tho that's a much less 'regimented ' approach than you may have been looking for.  Blessings!


  1. With 3 kids with SNs and 2 on the way, I can relate to this so well! I usually take all 3, along with some books, snacks and small toys. Just like you I keep certain things in the travel diaper bag that they don't see all the time. Jessa is always the last one I take out of the stroller and the first to go back in. Sometimes sweet ladies will take pity on her and want to set her free, which I learned quickly is a mistake! They will be long gone while I'm left wrangling her back in! But like you, I try to teach them that this is the same as visiting someone's home... you need to show respect. One thing I have found is that dr's offices do their best to get us in and out fairly quickly! ;)

  2. My goodness, I think I need to "borrow" you to help sort out my ONE and only when we are waiting to see a doctor! You seem to be the one in control....I am NOT! arghhhhhh