Since my daughter has chronic illness and life threatening food allergies we tend to frequent the doctor’s office more than most people. Over the years I’ve figured out simple tips on making the most out of visits to the doctor. It’s never easy but it can be fun.

No matter what… it sucks that you have to take your child in for a checkup, shots or to deal with any type of illness. It seriously just sucks. You have to go for a reason that is usually unpleasant. It can still be a fun time with the right perspective.

Each time something unexpected and unpredictable comes up we make the most out of it. Sure, it doesn’t make all the issues go away but it makes it easier to get through it.

This is not the list about bringing papers, charts, records or information. That will be another list. This is all about how to make the visits suck a little less and find some laughter during those less than awesome times.

Tips on Making the Most Out of Visits to the Doctor

  • Stay positive. That means you first. Even if you are freaking out and stressing! Your child will feed off of your energy and take cues from you. If you take the advice from Samuel L Jackson in Pulp Fiction and just BE COOL then your child will more than likely follow. When my 5 year old son got his teeth extracted I went in there like we were shopping for dinner. I kept my emotions, worries and fears in check and even when they started to examine him I kept cool. He kept looking at me the whole time. I smiled at him, we made jokes, we talked about what he would buy when the tooth fairy visited.
  • Pack some fun stuff. First of all toys and play centers in doctors offices are nasty. Other kids who are sick were playing with them and I still do NOT understand why offices keep germ factories in there. We pack a bag that has a few small toys, a notebook or coloring book, crayons and pencils. If we are in for a long haul I will pack the DS and a few games. My ten year old always has a simple craft (this past visit she made bracelets) and she has a book. Keep it light and simple and have a variety to change it up.
  • Wear comfortable layers. I’ve always found that if we are comfy and can shed clothes or add layers as needed then it makes everyone in better spirits. It can go from hot and unventilated to antarctic in minutes. What is with that?!
  •  Take pictures. Sure, not every family is like mine where we like to take silly pictures. However, I found that having my child pose during the process made it fun and something they can show off. I have dozens of pictures of my daughter at different ages flexing on a scale. I have multiple pictures of her with a big grin on her face pointing to how tall she is this visit. Sometimes we wear masks and take silly pics. Once my daughter tried to wrap herself like a mummy in the tissue paper that covers the exam table (we asked.. they thought it was funny). When you spend anywhere from 3 – 12 hours in appointments, xrays and labs you have to have some fun.
  • Always make a chicken glove. We have never found a doctor that wasn’t okay with sparing a glove for us to make a chicken out of. Bring stickers and markers to color it and “dress” it up. We use stickers like tattoos. Then my kids pretend that the chicken is attacking them. Then we take pictures! haha
  • Maybe bring your ipod and listen to some music. Something upbeat and fun. My daughter likes to listen to “Dynamite” by Taio Cruz. It is fitting. We listen to rock out empowering music. Or something fun like the soundtrack to Little Shop of Horrors. There is always a lot of car dancing and silliness on the way to and from the appointment.

I hope these tips on making the most out of visits to the doctor are helpful! Try to make the most of it and keep on ninja kicking!

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Gardening with kids isn’t the easiest undertaking. Most kids love to get dirty and why not!? It can be fun when you aren’t obsessing over how all that dirt may damage your carpet. I grew up gardening with my Dad and Grand Parents. It is just a part of me and something I love but I didn’t always love the work involved in it. I think it is important for kids to enjoy gardening and it gives us a chance to disconnect, get outside and grow some stuff but we all need to remember to be cool about it so they are cool about it!

So how can you really enjoy gardening with kids? Follow these simple tips for a good start!

1. Remove all electronics and anything of value from you and the kid(s). Do not put it on the grass, porch or any nearby surface! Why? Because at some point you might not be the one in control of the hose so therefore everything, including your roof, may end up being soaked. Most kids will point the hose at whatever they are looking so just imagine where the water will end up if your kiddo is looking at a bird flying above. Rather than banging your chest like an angry gorilla if it happens be a little pro active and remove everything first.

2. Grow your food and grow edibles that your kids will eat! I cannot stress this enough. What is the point to growing cucumbers if no one likes them? Sure, there are a ton of phallic jokes you can come up with but ultimately you don’t want the food to go to waste. It is really enjoyable to see your kids raid the garden to eat something fresh from the vine. They get a better appreciation for food they grow and I’ve found that kids tend to eat more vegetables if they grow them.

3. Grow something fun! Have you ever seen those huge giant mammoth sunflowers? Or what about a topsy turvy tomato? Or if you have pace grow some pumpkins! Make it fun and they will enjoy it a lot more.

4. Grow it in a container! No matter if you are restricted to a patio space or a huge garden it is always fun to grow stuff in containers. Want to see root vegetables grow? Find a clear container to grow them in. Seriously. It kicks garden booty.

5. Make a game out of every gardening chore. Be creative! I feel that making things into a race or beating some kind of previous record makes everything more enjoyable. You can even make little matching cards with free images online of whats in your garden. Print the images out, put them on one side of index cards and every time you go outside to play in the garden have your kid(s) match the image with the plant in the garden. If you used seed packets then keep the images on them for cards! If you are making a game out of it your kids are less likely to bug you or speak whinese!

6. Get dirty. Seriously. Gardening is dirty so don’t freak out over the dirt. Wear appropriate clothes and get your dirt on.

7. End the your gardening time with water play because not only is it a fun incentive but it also helps prewash any messes they made. Have a yard? Do slip n slide or play in the sprinklers! Live in a condo, apartment or condo? Create a water play table and utilize that. You can use the water (so long as you don’t add soap to it) to water your plants after playtime.


Ultimately the kids will have as much fun as you do. Kid’s are amazing reminders that life is pretty simple and fun is the objective. So, get out there. Get dirty. Have fun. Create a game. Enjoy gardening with kids even if you kill all the plants and remember, “Don’t Speak Whinese!!”.