I am curious, “What is in your play therapy waiting room?” We have a table similar to the picture in this blog. Additionally, we have the obvious things, like furniture, noise machines/music (for privacy), and some toys.

To stock our play therapy waiting room space, I put myself in, well, my shoes. After all, I am a parent of four boys and have spent a fair amount of time in waiting rooms myself. I’ve spent time waiting all alone. I’ve also spent the time waiting with all of the three other siblings tagging along because I simply didn’t have anyone else to watch them.

With these experiences in mind, here’s what we stocked our play therapy waiting room space with:

  • Water
  • Coffee, tea, hot cocoa
  • Cups/napkins/utensils
  • Microwave
  • Refrigerator
  • Snacks–out of sight, of course, but the parents and teens know right where to find them
  • Dark chocolate–even further out of sight–for parents
  • Books for parents and children
  • Articles about play therapy
  • Band-aids and ice packs
  • Reading lamp
  • Phone charger
  • Easily accessible table with an outlet for laptops
  • Calendar with vacation days blocked off
  • Calendars for the local school districts (“When is our spring break again?”)
  • Copies of a newsletter I (sometimes) write for parents
  • Tissues/hand sanitizer/maks
  • Paper towels/Clorox wipes
  • Trash can

In addition to providing a comfortable space, my goal is to ease the burden of busy families. They know that if they forget to grab a child a snack, I’ve got their back. The waiting room truly is a versatile space these days: Some parents/guardians:

  • Eat meals
  • Take Zoom calls
  • Write reports
  • Read
  • Charge their phones while scrolling
  • Tend to other children
  • Daydream
  • Bring along a family member and laugh the entire time leaving their child wondering, “What are they doing out there?”

I want the space to be clean enough that they don’t mind their child playing with trucks on the floor. At the same time, I don’t want it so clean that they feel like they have to pick everything up perfectly when they leave. Parents are busy. Parents of children in therapy might feel the weight of that in some way. My goal is to invite families to feel comfortable for the time they are here.

No matter how we choose to make the space comfortable, some people will choose to wait in their cars. And that is OK. I sometimes do this. It’s too late for me to call family back home on the East Coast, but if it wasn’t that is how I would normally use that time. For this particular music lesson, I like knowing I have 30 uninterrupted minutes to … play Sudoku. Or Words With Friends.

What do you have in your play therapy waiting room?

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