Your child might be petrified of going to the doctor. Whether it’s a shot, sick visit or annual appointment, there are usually unpleasant things that happen at the office, so it makes sense that the child would be frightened. There are ways to help alleviate fears and make the trip as pleasant as possible. While they may never love the doctor’s office, it doesn’t have to be a trip filled with crying and panic-filled screams.
1- Role Play as the Doctor
Before the appointment, buy a doctor kit for your child. This will allow him to role play as the physician. You can pretend to be the patient, which will show him what kind of behavior you expect. Act frightened and let your child calm your fears. He’ll see that the doctor’s office doesn’t have to be frightening as well as remembering his own words of comfort. You can use those same words with him when at the office too.
2- Allow Some Control and Choices
Instead of leaving the child sitting on the table alone, set her on your lap, which will give you more control while comforting her within your arms. When the doctor looks in her ears, let her make the choice of what ear should be looked in first. Hold her hand and let her make some choices to help her feel more in control over the visit. While she’s sitting on your lap, make sure that you’re not tense. Children will get their cues from parents, so if you’re tense about the visit, she’ll pick up on that.
3- Don’t Dismiss Fears
It’s important that you validate his or her fears. Don’t be dismissive and tell her that it won’t hurt or that he won’t get a shot. It’s a bad idea to tell the child not to cry too. Tell your child that you know how unpleasant and painful shots can be. Reassure the child that you’ll be there the whole time, and that it will go quickly. Never promise that there won’t be shots at the visit unless you’ve verified before the appointment. You don’t want to lie to the child about the visit, or she won’t trust you.
4- Stay with the Child
There are times that you might be working, and you’ll need the babysitter or a relative to take your little one to the doctor. That should only happen after the child is comfortable with the doctor and nurses. If you’ve changed pediatricians, you should always visit the first few times with the child. While a relative can be trusted to bring the child, your little one is always going to be more comfortable when you’re there.
5- Comfort Toys or Dolls
If your child has a comfort doll or toy that makes him or her feel better, bring the toy to the doctor’s office. It’ll be less scary if they have their blanket or favorite stuffed animal. It’ll give the doctor a way to interact with the child too. For example, the doctor might show the child what will happen at the visit by using the doll or toy to demonstrate.
6- Choosing the Right Doctor
The doctor that you choose is vital to the success of the child’s visit. While some children will be scared visiting any pediatrician, trust your instincts if it feels like your child doesn’t like one in particular. Ask the child what it is about that specific doctor that makes the child scared. You might want to discuss the doctor with other parents too. It might be time to choose a different doctor if the child seems afraid of that person, not just the office visit.
According to CNN, fevers don’t always require doctor visits, but you definitely have to bring your child in for well visits and shots on a regular basis. You’ll need to work with your child to reduce fears and make the visits as pleasant as possible.