As a parent, it’s your job to keep kids safe and healthy. This means bringing them to the doctor when they’re sick, injured, or for wellness checks. As a child gets older and they start to understand their senses, they may become afraid of the doctor. After all, this individual who they don’t know is touching them, looking in their mouth and nose, and possibly even giving them shots, all of which can be scary. Because of this, many children panic when it’s time to go to the doctor, and that can make the situation worse for parents. So how exactly do you prepare your child for a visit to the pediatrician?
Talk with your child.
The very first thing you should do is talk with your child about their visit. Explain to them why they need to go and what exactly will happen why they are there. Remind them that you will be with them the whole time, and explain the importance of going to the doctor. Be sure you tell your child why it’s important for them to see the doctor and how the doctor is only there to help your child. In addition to talking about the visit, it’s also important to talk about how your child feels and answer any questions they may have. Allowing your child to express their emotions and concerns, but also being able to ease their fears, will make the experience easier for everyone involved.
Show them websites, pictures, and videos.
Many children are visual learners, so showing them the doctor’s website, a picture of the doctor, or just generic pictures of a doctor’s office or visit could help them better understand what to expect. Use resources like http://pediatriccenter.com/ so your child can explore what a doctor’s office may look like. And if you can show them a picture of the doctor ahead of time, it can also make the experience seem less scary too. Use the resources available to you so your child can be more comfortable when it’s time to go to the doctor.
There are plenty of children’s books out there designed to help children better understand certain situations, and going to the doctor’s office is one of them. Based on your child’s age and interests, find a book that would be appropriate for them about going to the doctor. Sometimes these books can better explain what to expect to your child in a language that makes sense to them. Plus, combining this information with pictures that teach your child about the things they will find in the doctor’s office can make the situation easier on them.
Be prepared yourself.
There’s no telling what will happen when you arrive at the doctor’s office, so it’s important for you as the parent to be prepared. For instance:
- You may be in the waiting room for a long time, so you’ll need a way to keep your child entertained during the wait. Be sure to have some sort of toy or book to keep your child happy during the wait.
- The doctor’s appointment may occur during a snack or meal time, so your child may get hungry. Be sure to have some snacks packed just in case this happens.
- The appointment could also occur during nap time, which means your child will be crabby. If possible, try to schedule your appointments around this time or just be prepared for keeping your child awake.
- Because your child may be scared, having their favorite stuffed animal on hand may help put them at ease.
If your child is not happy about going to the doctor and becomes upset, it could make you start to lose control of your own emotions. Instead, it’s very important for you to stay strong, no matter what may be happening. Doing this will show your child that there isn’t anything for them to fear, and it can also be helpful to the pediatrician who is trying to work with your child.
Sometimes you just need to incentivize your child to make it worthwhile. Let them know that if they behave while at the doctor, you will give them something in return. This can be something big or small, as you will know your child best.
Taking a child to the doctor can be frustrating, but it’s a necessity. The more you can prepare your child for the pediatrician using these tips, the better your experience may be.