A few days ago I needed emergency dental treatment, and I managed to get an appointment at my local dentist for the following day. I had no childcare so needed to take my twin toddlers with me – here’s how it went.
First off, I kept them up for an extra hour in the hopes that I would be able to get them to nap through the dental appointment the next day.
On the morning of the appointment, I packed a bag with water bottles,and a big tub of orange segments and cut up grapes – some solid favourites with both of my twins. I then gathered up a handful of our Erzi play food and put that in the bag too – we’ve got some ‘cuttable’ pieces that are held together by Velcro, and this generally tends to keep the toddlers entertained.
I left home an hour earlier than I needed to, and made sure our journey took us through the park. Here, I found a quiet corner and let both toddlers loose. They both had a good toddle about, and there was lots to look at. My plan was to tire them out at the park, which, in conjunction with the late night, would lead to a nap.
Sure enough, as I approached the dentist after the park, both twins fell asleep – success! I was really quite chuffed with myself that my planning had paid off at this point, but my smugness wouldn’t last long.
It turned out that due to some short-staffing, the dentist was running about half an hour behind schedule. About ten minutes before I was seen, my daughter woke up.
Luckily, we were the only people in the waiting room so I was able to get our play mat out along with the toys I’d brought, and create a space for her to play without bothering anyone else.
When the dentist was ready to see me, he suggested I brought the play mat into the room where I would be, so my daughter could see me. We did this, but honestly, she just wanted to stomp around and explore! The receptionist closed all of the nearby doors, and as we were the only people in the building, my daughter could stomp up and down the corridor, under the eye of the receptionist while the dentist was looking at my teeth.
It wasn’t too long before my son woke up and started to have an almighty tantrum. We stopped the dental work for a few minutes while I went and retrieved my shrieking child and put him down on the mat. This is where the snacks came in handy!
They sat quietly on the mat together, eating their fruit while the dentist got on with my teeth. Once the fruit was gone, they both went for a toddle down the corridor to investigate their surroundings.
As the dentist was finishing up, my son was starting to get restless and I could hear him grumbling in the reception. He had climbed back into the buggy and the lovely receptionist was doing her best to entertain him with silly faces – a valiant effort!
I gathered up the toys and snack pot that had been scattered around the place, scooped up my toddlers and got them ready to leave. Once we were ready to go, I gave my eternal thanks to the staff for being so brilliant about me having to being toddlers with me, and off we went!
If anyone else has a situation where you need to take your toddler/s with you somewhere, I thoroughly recommend:
- Try and coincide a nap with your appointment. Tire them out and adjust bedtime accordingly!
- Stock up on snacks
- Take some small toys and a play mat if you have one!
- If possible, get an appointment for the end of the day so you have the waiting room to yourself
- Ring ahead to make sure the staff are aware that you’re bringing your littles – they might be able to help entertain them for a few minutes!
And that’s that! I was really anxious about the appointment, but we managed, and it was fine. Any other tips are welcome!