How Do You Go to the Doctor When You Have Little Kids?

Updated on September 11, 2013
J.C. asks from Blacksburg, VA
28 answers

Okay, moms. Tomorrow I have my annual women's doctor appointment, and I'll be taking my 2 1/2 year old. I don't want to, but school has started and all of my babysitters are in high school. I also am supposed to have several other appointments that I just haven't made because I don't want to take her and don't know what else to do with her. The last time I had to take her to an appointment we had to wait a very long time, and by the time the doctor finally got to me she was crying and trying to run all around the room and he had to yell over her so I could hear him. It was awful. How do you go to the doctor or other things that it would be better not to have a 2 YO along when your sitters are in school?

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Featured Answers


answers from Seattle on

I have always had to bring my kids with me to the doctors.
I have been known to bring their stroller and whip it out when the doctor is finally ready for me, throw the kid in their, and give them their favorite snack! Be it grapes, apples, fruit snacks, cheerios. Whatever will keep them quiet. Then I say to the doctor, "GO!"

4 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

I always schedule my apt's at the very beginning of the day so there isn't much of a wait or right after lunch so there isn't much of wait. When taking my kid(s) I plan in advance with plenty of snacks and things for them to do. Oldest takes his DS and helps entertain my youngest ones. When I just have my youngest I take the stroller to strap him in when need be. Have you tried a hand held video player with his fav show? It is a tough time, but the more you take him the better he will learn to behave.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I would find an older sitter. Or I would call a friend and ask for a trade. Or my DH goes to work late and drops DD at the doctor's office when I call him (it's on his way to the office).

2 moms found this helpful

More Answers


answers from Chicago on

Bring an umbrella stroller, snacks (including lollipops), a video game of some type (maybe on your phone, or an iPad, Leap Pad, etc.), a sticker book, books, etc.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

When my son was still a toddler (so before I had really made any fellow mom friends to trade babysitting with) I tried to make these kinds of appointments in the late afternoon, so my husband could leave work a little early and meet me there. He'd take our son home from there.
I suggest you start getting out more, and meeting other moms. Join a mom's club or playgroup, take a mommy and me class, etc. If you don't have family and friends nearby it's even more important to have a support network to fall back on.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New London on

I would have a friend watch my child. Then, I would do the same for her a few wks later when she would have an appt.

Local colleges might have a bulletin board/ website w/ sitters posted.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Late afternoon or early a.m. appointments, so husband or significant other can work from home or come home early --that's what we did when our child was young.

I know it's not what you want to hear, but frankly, many doctors do not allow young children to tag along on visits, period. I even had one ob/gyn -- yes, she delivers babies! -- who did not permit young children in the office at all. You are eventually going to hit this issue so I'd work now on finding someone who can do appointment babysitting.

Also, some offices do have Saturday hours -- not many, but some like our general internal medicine doctors have Saturday hours until early afternoon. Seek out doctors who have those hours if you possibly can. If they don't publicize Saturday hours, ask -- some offices have them but don't like to make it widely known!

If you don't have a husband or SO or nearby, trusty relative in the picture, and rely heavily on the teen babysitters, see if there is a college or university nearby; some college kids babysit and they have MUCH more flexible hours. There are often online sites where you can find college age kids who do babysitting. It would be good to establish a relationship with a couple of reliable older sitters now, before you need one for the next doctor's appointment. I notice you're in Blacksburg -- you have a large university right there and if you search online you might find a babysitter board where college kids offer their services.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Do you not have any friends or family that could either keep your little one or come with you to keep your little one occupied?I would get to know some moms of your older son's classmates and start a babysitting trade.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Stationed Overseas on

My kids go everywhere with me so they are pretty used to going to doctors appointments and etc. My youngest is 2 and pretty crazy. I always make sure I either have the very first appointment in the morning or right after lunch. That way we don't wait too long. Usually the morning since he's napping in the afternoon. He goes straight into the stroller and I tell him my expectations. He's very verbal and understands what's going on. I bring a snack and drink and will bring out a lollipop as a last resort. I also bring a ton of toys. There is usually a big pile of toys on the floor as he throws them when he's done but at least he's occupied. If my older child is with me I'll bring a tablet and have her hold it so they can watch a movie. At the very most we spend about an hour at the doctor. Then once we leave we go straight to the park so he can run and burn off that energy he's been storing up LOL. GL it can be tough sometimes but I find all of my doctors very understanding.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

Find a neighbor or another baby sitter or a drop in day care that would take her for a few hours.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Grand Forks on

I brought my older son to all of my obstetrician appointments when I was pregnant with my younger son. He would have been just over two when he started coming along. My ob always seemed to be at least 2-3 hours behind. I just made sure to pack lots of books and a couple of toys. During my actual examination he just sat in the corner of the exam room. My younger son has also accompanied me to a few pap tests. I guess I was lucky because they were generally pretty good in those situations.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

I found an in home daycare that allowed for drop-ins. They had rules like 2 hour minimum and if they were full for the day they couldn't take them so I made sure to give them plenty of notice.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbia on

I always made sure I had a couple college students who could babysit during the day. Try or They will be background checked and have references.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

If you have to take her, do you have a smartphone or tablet? If so, could you put Netflix on while the Dr. is in the room? I know she's young, but maybe she'd sit still long enough to watch a short show?

I was always lucky that when I was at home (I did in home daycare), my husband could usually arrange to stay home with the kids while I went to the Dr. Now our kids are in school or preschool, and I schedule my appointments during my work hours and miss work.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Orlando on

Make friends with other moms and swap childcare for B appts and dentists, etc.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Find other sitters, or have your husband take a day off from work and get as many appointments in on one day as you can.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

I enrolled my son in toddler preschool partly so I could make appointments. It really helped when I wound up pregnant and had a zillion prenatal appointments. In a pinch? Stroller with iPhone or iPad with a video.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Austin on

I guess it is too late to search for an older sitter for tomorrow, so better start looking for options. It us almost not fair to young children or other patients to have an energetic child have to behave for a long time in a grown up place like the Doctors office.

Have you been to this doctor before? Do you know how long it takes to get there? I would call and ask them if they could call you 30 min before the doctor is actually going to be able to see you. Have the car packed up so you can just dash to the car and drive straight to the doctor.

I did this when I was pregnant. I was working full time and did not have time to sit for an hour or more just to get into my appointment. It only took me 20 minutes to get there and find parking.. , so I would call 30 minutes before my scheduled appt and ask if the doctor was on time or was running late? If the doctor was running super late.. the receptionist would call and say.. In 30 minutes, the doctor will be able to start your appointment. Sometimes, they would end up calling and saying, we are just going to have to postpone completely she is still delivering babies.. Or there is an emergency. .. or another doctor is willing to see you on time.. So I could decide how I wanted to handle the appt.

This is one of the reasons I loved this doctor, she and her staff were AWESOME.. and willing to work with their patients.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Ask a friend to watch her.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

I always had adult sitters. that I could get during the day.. or I make apt late in the day..330ish and have hub come home an hour early from work.. I never ever ever take a 2 year old to a dr for me... that is a disaster.. maybe there is a mothers day out program in your area .. so toddler can go to mothers day out.. and you can make all your appointments during that 3 or 4 hour block of time.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Bellingham on

Not that I have anything exciting to add here, since this is a common problem, but maybe let her run around the waiting room and take an umbrella stroller and strap her in once the Doctor arrives in the room... and then give her a super yummy favorite treat. I've heard that if you get that candy where it's like sugar dots on a strip of paper it takes a toddler a looooong time to get even one off, since it requires the fine motor skills they don't have. I"m not condoning giving a two year old a ton of candy, but in a pinch it might work?

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Santa Fe on

I have a girlfriend watch my little one. Then when she goes to the dr. I watch her son. We switch off. I do this for dentist appointments too. If you don't have any friends that you can do this with, start trying to make some! It's invaluable. We also do an exercise exchange. We pick up each other's kids from preschool if needed or watch each other's kids in an emergency...if something pops up. I also have a friend watch my daughter when I volunteer at my son's school.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I do make real efforts to work my dr appointments into the schedule so my husband or a neighbor/friend can watch my 3 year old, but sometimes that doesn't work out. For those times, I have a special "big" coloring book that they are not allowed to see unless we're going somewhere special (special being someplace potentially miserable like a doctor's office or other "adult" waiting rooms). I have a little outing bag (just a small backpack) where I pack a sippy cup to drink from (at 3, he does not drink from a sippy in real life anymore but that's what it'll have to be if we're at the dr office....if my 6 yr old must be with me too then that is a small sport bottle for him), a snack (single serve bag of goldfish, a small ziploc of chex or dried fruit, one of those little $1 cups of little cookies something that is NOT the normal snack and thus, a treat). A box of colors, a new book from the library, a hot wheel, and a figurine are also in the bag, along with hand sanitizer and wipes, and something of comfort (a small doll or blanket). All of that will fit in a little backpack. You don't want too many things that will make a mess, you want to be "in control" of the snack and crayons, doling them out a little at a time (after you receive the crayon in her hand she can have another), it takes some work and watchfulness on your part but if she is happy and content then you can bet it will be a better experience for the both of you. Also, if you choose to let her "flip pictures" or play some basic little game on your cellphone....or let her play bubbletown, angry birds, or one of the games off nick jr it will keep everyone happy while waiting (I had to do these kinds of things because my doctor could easily have a 45-60 minute wait before she sees me, and that's ridiculous). And finally for the actual "adult exam", it only takes like 2 minutes, and if you ask a nurse will watch your child in a room next to you, or at least in the hall as they walk to the candy jar by the check out window. Sometimes they even have a little box of toys to look at or they'll ask you if it's ok to give her a dum dum (those cheap little suckers kids like so much).


answers from Washington DC on

if you absolutely cannot find anybody you trust to watch your kid while you go to the doc, hire a mother's helper to keep her in the waiting room so you can at least go back to the office unencumbered.
i actually did bring my littles to occasional doctor appointments, but 2 is a rough age. when they're smaller it's easier. you really can't get a PAP done with a wildly careening toddler in the room.


answers from Norfolk on

Hi, Mama:
Do you go to church?

Have you any friends?

check your area for Mom's day out like someone

Call the Doctor's office and ask for some suggestions.

It isn't nice to have a 2 1/2 year old unattended while you are
being taken care of.

Good luck.



answers from Chicago on

I ask my mom or ask hubby to work from home. In the case of the later, I then go during TV time and nap time, so hubby isn't disturbed.

D you have a neighbor or friend? That's my backup. A friend watched my kids a lot when I went to the midwife.



answers from Oklahoma City on

Mother's Day Out, friends, etc...


answers from Iowa City on

I had to take my daughter to the doctor with me yesterday. Blowing up a glove so she could have a "hand balloon" kept her entertained when we were in the room waiting on the doctor.

I've had to take my girls to many doctor appointments over the years. I just pack small toys, snacks, activities, etc. depending on the time of the appointment. I also don't bother showing up early and if the doctor is running very late I have no problem rescheduling.

If I know that the particular appointment is going to take a long time or if there is something I would rather not explain to my children then I wait until I can find a sitter or I have dad take his lunch hour at the time of my appointment.

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