How to Ease Your Child’s Anxiety About Going to the Doctor
A visit to the doctor is not usually at the top of anyone’s list, especially a child’s. Children can have a fear of the unknown and may have had a previous unpleasant experience during an examination. Plus, heading to the doctor usually correlates with feeling ill, so this can lead to bad feelings about a doctor’s visit. You can help lessen your child’s anxiety about an upcoming visit to the doctor by using the advice below. Doctors are here to help us and your child can actually look forward to a visit once you have changed a worried mindset.
It Won’t Hurt
Part of your child’s anxiety may stem from a fear of being poked and prodded, the shock of a cold stethoscope, a prick of a needle, or being examined in a way he may think will be painful. These things do sound scary, but explain to your child that the doctor, nurse, or medical assistant will be very gentle. They are trained to work specifically with children and use techniques that will not harm him. Pediatricians have mastered many techniques to distract kids and put them at ease during exams. Your child may also benefit from bringing along a security blanket or soothing doll or toy to help feel calm.
You Will Feel Better
Remind your child that the doctor will help him feel better in no time. The doctor will be able to help assess what’s wrong and prescribe the proper treatment(s) to lead your child on the rapid road to recovery. The doctor’s soothing touch and calm demeanor will put your child at ease, and with the right diagnosis and plan for recovery, your child will begin to feel better right away. Let your child know that the trip to the doctor is the first step in feeling like his usual happy self.
There are Fun Things to Do While You Wait
Most doctor’s office waiting rooms have interesting magazines and books for kids and some even have board games and other toys to enjoy while waiting. You can also bring along an iPad or your own book for your child to read as you wait for the appointment. There may be other kids waiting so they can meet some new children. You can even bring a coloring book or a sketch pad for your child if he happens to become inspired to create a work of art while waiting. Some offices will hang up the artwork in the waiting room. That will surely make your child proud and eager for the next checkup so he can marvel at his work!
We Can Do Something Special Afterwards
There’s nothing like a reward to get your child to do something he isn’t all too excited about. If he behaves well during the visit, let him know you will go out for an ice cream cone together after the exam. Perhaps he can stay up a half hour later or watch an extra TV program. Whatever may interest your child and isn’t too big of a reward is suitable for a well-behaved and brave child after a doctor’s visit.
How do you ease your child’s anxieties about a doctor’s visit? What has worked well for you? We’d love to share your tips and advice with the parents in the AMC community. For more info like this, please visit All My Children.
By: Melissa A. Kay