No matter what age your children are, going to the doctor’s office can be a stressful and nervy experience for many youngsters. Even if it’s just a routine check up, the next time you have to take one of your kids to the pediatrician’s could prove to be a tough day on the parenting docket. Fortunately, here are four steps you can take to mitigate against a stress-inducing day out to the doctor’s –– and help both you and your little one relax!
The most excruciating aspect of any visit to the doctor’s isn’t the check up itself, the reflex tests, or even the dreaded shots –– rather, it’s the anticipation that can unsettle even the most fearless child. Plan for having to wait in the lobby for some time while at the pediatrician and make sure to bring along something for your child to play with. A book, iPad, tablet, or small toy are all good suggestions. Anything that holds their attention, without causing too much of a ruckus will serve to relax them, and allow you to fill out paperwork without distraction.
Consistency is Key
The last thing your child needs on an already stressful day are unplanned shocks to the system. So if possible, schedule each trip to the doctor to be as similar as possible. Find a pediatrician you like and trust at a location that’s convenient for you and continue with them. Your child will appreciate the consistency and will learn to trust a doctor the more they see them.
If your kid is especially freaked out by going to the doctor’s, one way to help calm their nerves is to explain the different processes to them. Tell them what to expect at the doctor’s, why certain exams and shots are necessary, and how long everything is going to take. You can even show them images of different lab equipment like needles, pediatric blood tubes, and stethoscopes to help destigmatize any fears they might harbor. Remember, your child is perceptive; misleading them, or downright lying will cause more trouble than it’s worth.
Reward Good Behavior
Let your little one know up front that after you go to the doctor’s, there will be a treat in store for them. Whether you take them out for a classic like ice cream, or candy, or a trip to the movie theater or zoo is up to you. Just let them know you appreciate their cooperation and reinforce their positive behavior.