#1. Learn About Doctors
Introduce age-appropriate books and movies that focus on doctors in a positive manner, well in advance of your child’s appointment. If your child sees that their favorite characters get check-ups and take medicine, it will be easier to convince them to do the same. Before a visit, read and re-read favorite books, and when you arrive at the Doctor’s office, be sure to remind your kid of the similarities between their visit and the experiences they have learned about. Make a game of identifying medical equipment such as scales and thermometers, and play I Spy until the nurse arrives.
At home, let your child put on the white coat and pick up the stethoscope. Playing doctor empowers children to care for others, while reinforcing the idea that doctors are important helpers. When your child is pretending to treat your ailments, act worried and let them reassure you. In turn, when they are frightened at the doctors office, reassure them in the same manner and let them make the connection.
#3. Come Prepared
Make doctor’s visits as comfortable as possible. If your child is feeling under the weather, bring a blanket, ice pack, or whatever else will help ease their discomfort. Indulge in special treats so that your child will associate trips to the doctors with positive rewards. Bring activities to keep your kid busy while waiting. It’s important to distract them from whatever misgivings they may have about the visit; if they focus on their fear it will grow out of control.
#4. Chose Wisely
Not every doctor works well with children. Visit multiple pediatricians and get second opinions until you find a practitioner that appeals to both you and your child. Seek out kid-friendly practices such as Pediatric Dentist Madison WI, as a staff that is experienced in working with children can help convince your child that visiting the doctor can be fun.
#5. No Surprises
Before a doctor’s visit explain in age-appropriate terms exactly what will happen at the appointment. When you are in the office, explain what the doctors and nurses are doing and why they are doing it. After the visit, talk about what happened and ask if your child found it as scary as they imagined it would be. Fear of the unknown is powerful, and a small amount mental preparation provides a large amount of reassurance.