There are a few simple ways you can make your waiting room both child and parent friendly, while still maintaining a professional appearance in your office. You can choose toys, storage, and seating that is both easily accessible and fun for children, while still being classy and refined for when there are no kids present. To set up your ideal waiting area, plan carefully for each item you purchase and don't forget to include items meant for older kids and teens.
Waiting room seating doesn't have to be uncomfortably designed nor boring. For kids, you can purchase brightly colored chairs and benches; or for a more refined look buy simple chairs or recliners set up in in a circle to create a relaxing seating area for reading or playing.
Choose toys that are appropriate for multiple age groups, like arts and crafts, books, or board games. There are also several types of play tables, making keeping up with pieces and crayons a thing of the past. Older children and teens will enjoy card games, books, magazines, and videos. Just make sure that all videos and reading materials are targeted toward this age group. Young adult fiction and magazines are generally inexpensive and easy to find. Organize toys and books by storing them in a toy box and on specific bookshelves.
If you are going for a whimsical or casual environment, choose options with bright colors and character animal or ocean prints. More formal settings would require real wood finishes. Either option will provide kids and parents with easy access to toys and reading materials, while making cleanup at the end of the day a lot easier for you.
Make sure that when you choose reading materials for the parents that you find things for multiple interests. Picking up the free publications will show that you didn't put much effort into picking things out, especially since magazine subscriptions are relatively inexpensive. Choose a variety of topics, including fashion, news, history, and automotive.
Although buying recliners for all of your adult visitors is unrealistic, you could opt for seating that is a little more comfortable than the standard plastic chairs shoved painfully close to the chairs next to them. Chairs should be sturdy and firm to allow proper support. You could also choose large benches with upholstered seats to provide added comfort, especially if your establishment is know for long waiting periods.
More casual settings with adequate room may even do well with sofas, which you can find at any consignment shop for very reasonable prices. Put two or three sofas in a circular area with a few tables to create relaxing environment for parents to read and converse while they wait.