by Melissa Brodsky
Going to the doctor is likely the number one scare on your child’s list of fears. In a child’s mind, nothing good ever comes out of visiting any type of doctor, whether it be strange looking instruments heading for their mouth or sharp objects being stuck into their little thighs, most kids dread doctor visits.
Help take the scare out of your child’s doctor visits!
Stand by them: The presence of a parent or grandparent during a routine (or not-so-routine) doctor’s appointment is imperative in keeping the child’s stress levels down. Children have some sort of blind faith that if the parent is there then nothing too bad can happen to them. Promise your child that you will be right there next to them through the whole visit. Unless, of course, there is some sort of procedure involved prohibiting your presence. Let them know you’ll be there before and after.
Read books: There are a bazillion books dedicated to the subject matter of doctors visits. Berenstain Bears, Dora, Max and Ruby and many other of your child’s most loved and trusted television friends. Barnes and Noble has a HUGE selection of books to help prepare your child for a visit to any type of doctor.
Carry-ons: Allowing your child to bring a favorite toy, blankie or pacifier to the doctor will perhaps help alleviate some of their stress. The familiar comfort objects carry them through many situations and doctor appointments are one of them. There are also toys available, made specifically to ease a child’s fear of the doctor. Check up time Elmo is one. Also, consider purchasing a doctors kit and role play with your child. Soft Toy Doctors Kit is a great one for kids under 2. There is quite a large variety of role playing Doctor kits available on sites such as Amazon, choose the one best fit for your child’s age.
Rewards and Incentives: Let your child know that he or she will have something to look forward to after the dreaded doctor appointment. Offer a trip to the playground or perhaps a trip to the toy store. Having something positive to look forward to allows them to focus on the reward.
What not to say: Saying things such as “Don’t be scared” or “Don’t cry” takes away from kids parental comfort. Validate their fears, let them know you understand their reasoning. Also, share your own stories of doctor visits with happy endings. It lets the child know that if things turn out alright for their parent then it should be OK for them, too. An added bonus is kids love to hear personal parent stories, especially funny ones.
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