5 Tips for Creating the Waiting Room Experience Parents Really Want (But Won’t Tell You!)

What is it that parents really want when they bring their kids in for treatment? Aside from positive clinical outcomes and healthy teeth – which we can assume is the number one priority for both you and them – there is something that every parent secretly hopes they get while bringing their family to your office…

A mini vacation.

Now hear us out. They won’t tell you this, but every parent is thinking the same thing when they enter your office. It goes something like this: “Please let this be easy because I really hope I can relax for a few minutes while my kids are occupied and I have no other demands on my attention.”

It’s akin to being on an airplane – for a block of time you can disconnect and sneak in some ‘me time’ while the demands of everyday life can wait. It’s not the primary purpose of being there, but it sure is an enjoyable perk when it happens.

Understanding this secret wish of parents offers a great opportunity for any healthcare provider who works with young families. It’s an opportunity to deliver a beyond-expectation experience that gets parents talking and helps fuel referral rates. Relaxed parents, cooperative patients, happy staff, growing practice – everyone wins.


1. Take Parents’ Stress Away by Making Their Kids Feel Welcome

Make their kids feel welcome immediately by engaging with them as soon as they enter your office. Welcome them by name whenever possible and make them feel like the star of the show. This helps reduce appointment anxiety in your younger patients and allows them to feel more comfortable being separated from their mom or dad.

Also, it’s a great primer for a smooth treatment because appointments are easier for your staff when patients feel at ease.

Going the extra mile to make kids feel welcome.

2. Create an Entertaining Area in Your Waiting Room that is Just For Kids

Create a special space that is inviting for kids – one that is clearly just for them where they can have fun, be fully engaged in a healthy distraction and not worry about interrupting the adults. This creates the opportunity for mom and dad to relax, instead of adding the pressure of having to entertain a child while in a space that doesn’t feel kid-friendly.

A private play area for kids.

3. Create a Distraction for Siblings so Parents Can Relax

Think about the experience parents have with the assumption that they will arrive with two kids – the one who has a scheduled appointment and a sibling. Construct your experience around the child that will be spending time in your waiting room beyond simply waiting to be called back. Videos games and physical activities like slides are a good distraction. So are movie theaters and TVs. Make sure your space goes the distance to keep them happy and engaged for 30-45 minutes.

Video games make a great distraction for siblings in the waiting room.

4.  Provide Amenities to Help Enhance the Waiting Room Experience

For some, a relaxing time may mean using their mobile device. And that’s ok – embrace it by having a charging station with common phone charges available and reliable Wi-Fi.

Wi-Fi is especially important for Canadians, where cellular data is often expensive and rationed closely, making Wi-Fi a must.

5. Pamper Parents with a Spa Treatment

Now that you’ve created an exclusive space just for kids, encourage parents to use this time to relax while their kids are being entertained.  Consider upgrading your waiting room treats to include gourmet coffee and teas, premium chocolates, fresh fruit, or some other delectable snack that makes their time in your space special.

Taking a break while the kids are preoccupied.

Indulging in an unexpected treat is a great way to feel mentally refreshed. If you want to take your waiting room experience to the highest level, a massage chair or other spa-like touches for mom or dad could be just what the doctor ordered.

A next level spa treatment if you want to go to the extreme.

The Winning Formula: Happy Kids, Relaxed Parents, and Exceptional Dental Care

It’s a simple formula, really. First, make a special space and a welcoming experience for junior patients. This takes the tension out of what can otherwise be a high-stress situation for both the kids and parents alike. That then opens the door for you to easily deliver a beyond-expectation experience for mom and dad – one that is a pleasant surprise, but exactly what every parent has secretly been hoping for all along.

Check out these related resources for creating a great experience for your patients:

How Patient Experience in Healthcare Impacts Revenue Growth

How to Get More Patients in Your Dental Office (And Create Long-Term Loyalty)

How to Improve Patient Satisfaction in 7 Steps

A Practical Guide to Creating an Exceptional Patient Experience

IDS theming is not an expense; it is an investment in your business.

Invest in Your Patients

Valuing your patients and their families sets them up for a lifetime of positive health outcomes. And the environment you create can help you achieve a better patient experience.

  • Reduce patient anxiety and enhance their relaxation
  • Prime patients and families for their appointments
  • Create positive dental care experiences

Invest in Your Business

Maintain your edge in the crowded dental service space. Attention to details in your niche can transform your environment and overall patient satisfaction…whatever your dental niche.

  • Create “buzz” in the community you serve
  • Accelerate patient referrals
  • Generate positive online reviews

Contact Imagination Design Studios (IDS) to get started transforming your office from a mundane to magical patient experience.




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