Do More While You Wait

November 13, 2019

Sitting in a waiting room – for the doctor, the dentist or any other reason – can be tough on kids and parents.  At the Parenting Center, we’ve launched a new initiative with our partners at to transform waiting spaces into learning opportunities!  We want to help families and hospital staff use every day healthcare moments in a new and exciting way. See a few of these new tips below and turn your next waiting time into brain building time. 

 Tip 1: Make a Face

Did You Know? Your face is your child’s favorite toy.
Have You Tried…. Smiling and winking at your child? Do it several times, then see if they can copy you. The smile might be easy, but the wink could be tricky.
It’s Science! Copying faces takes a lot of practice and focus. Playing games like these can build skills like paying attention and self-control, which are important for school and life.

Tip 2: What Do You Hear?

Did You Know? There are sounds everywhere!
Have You Tried…. Listening for sounds in the waiting room? Ask your child, “What’s that sound?” Take turns guessing. Are you hearing an opening door or papers crunching? The squeak of a chair or someone talking? Name them all together!
It’s Science! Noticing different sounds is an important skill for learning language and paying attention.

Tip 3: Letter Lookout

Did You Know? You can turn waiting time into discovery time
Have You Tried…. Looking around you for things that start with a “B” sound? Take turns spotting B’s like a bed or a bandage. Take turns calling them out to each other. Then choose another letter or search for a favorite color or shape.
It’s Science! By playing these games together, you are using waiting time to build your relationship and to teach important skills for learning.


For more tips like these, visit

If you are in the neighborhood come see these tips live at Mount Sinai Hospital!