08 Mar How to Prepare Your Child for Their Next Doctor’s Visit
Whether your child is going to see a doctor for their regular checkup, or seeing a specialist because they are sick or hurt, they may be fearful. Some children don’t have a problem expressing how they are feeling, while others keep it bottled up inside. Our job, as parents, is to help them through their fear, and explain what they should expect at their doctor’s visit.
Some of the emotions that your child may be feeling before seeing the doctor are fear of separation, pain, and the unknown.
Here are some tips for making a doctor’s visit less stressful for your child:
- Talk to your child about his expectations and fears, while keeping your explanations age or stage-appropriate.
- Let your child know in advance, whenever possible, that they will be visiting a doctor, and explain why.
- For well-child visits, explain that everyone sees a doctor to make sure they are healthy and strong. If they are seeing a doctor because of an injury, illness, or other problem, explain why they’re going using basic, calm wording.
- Reassure your child that if they have a condition or illness that requires them to see a doctor and receive treatment, it isn’t because they did something wrong. Some children feel guilt about being sick, especially if they feel that they are causing you stress or pain.
A fun way to prepare a young child for a doctor’s visit is to play doctor at home. Measure and weigh their teddy bear. Listen to each other’s heart beat, tap on knees, feet and elbows. Look in each other’s eyes and ears. Have everyone in your house join in the fun.
If you have a school-age child, talk and prepare. Let them be part of the process by having them write down any questions they would like to ask the doctor. Get a few good books about the changes that their bodies are going through during this time. Try to be as honest as you can about what will happen at the doctor’s visit.
Most children feel more comfortable, and can handle pain better, if they are prepared about what will happen while they are in the doctor’s office. Talk about the possibility of a shot. If a blood sample will need to be taken, explain what that is in terms they can understand.
A visit to the doctor doesn’t have to be scary or awful. It’s a great learning experience, and if you ask my children, an awesome place for stickers.