When was the last time you were in a waiting room, or the hospital? As adults, it’s easy for us to find things to do. We read, answer emails, converse with others, nap. Over time, we have learned what we can “get done” during a typical 30-minute wait. For kids, especially the very young, 30 minutes is an ETERNITY! And, let’s be honest, we all know the waiting around time is often much longer.
So, what keeps them occupied? What helps keep their young minds off of the poking & prodding they know is coming? We asked our Compass to Care parents to share some of the favorite ways our kids keep busy during the countless hours spent just waiting around.
Naturally, older kids, like Abdalridha and Tyris, spend a lot of their time with their “gadgets” – playing video games and listening to music, texting and snap-chatting.
Zoe can spend hours and hours creating with Play-doh whether she is in the car, the doctor’s office, at home. “She LOVES Play-doh. She takes it everywhere. She can spend hours playing with it and it helps her stay occupied when we have doctor visits,” her parents said. (That’s her, above)
Paris has a companion that goes with her everywhere. “Chloe is her favorite doll since she was two years old. She has been through everything with Paris. She loves her Bitty Baby!” shares Mindy, her mom.
In addition to the waiting, hospital stays can be, let’s face it, just plain uncomfortable. In addition to the poking and prodding, it’s just not home. To make their children’s stays more tolerable, parents try to make sure they have some of the comforts of home. There’s the usual, like movies, music, books, but then there are the more personal items.
Manuel has a blanket that reminds him of home and comforts him. “The blanket was made by his Grandma and he makes sure every time he goes into the hospital he has it, or if not, next time we take a trip back, he makes sure we bring it to him. He also says it’s the warmest blanket,” says his mom, Martha.
Super-soft stuffed animals are a popular companion because the nerves and skin become very sensitive as a result of chemotherapy. The extra-softness is very comforting. Doggie joined Khalon on his journey when he needed something soft to rub the itchy area near his newly-placed central line. “Doggie has been a huge source of comfort. He has been to every procedure (with Khalon) and is also his pillow at night,” explained his mom, Stacey.
Connor loves all stuffed animals and has quite a collection. “His favorite is a stuffed white tiger named Meme. Connor named Meme when he was approximately 2 years old and the name has stuck since,” shares his mom, Kristina.
Faith has two special stuffed animals. “Pooter the koala came from my cousin Donte, to comfort her after her surgery and got its name by the sound it makes when she squeezes it. Froggy came from child life specialist at the hospital and has a port just like her,” explains her mom, Juanita.
But not all animals are stuffed. Country-girl McKenzy has many animals, including several dogs, goats, cows, and even a miniature horse. “Her two little dogs went with us to Philadelphia for comfort while she received her radiation and chemo. Being able to be with her animals keeps her going and provides normalcy. Taking care of them gives her a focus beyond what’s going on with her. They provide unconditional love and companionship,” shares her mom, Stacey.
So, the next time you see a child hugging a tiger in the waiting room, or rolling out Play-doh, smile at them, put down your phone and ask if you can play too–it may be just what you both need!
If you would like to help make these many, many trips to the hospital for treatment just a little easier on mom and dad, please consider making a donation to Compass To Care today.