It’s that time of year again. Now is the time to take your little ones for their annual physicals. While we know the importance of annual doctor visits, most children dread it. As soon as their name is called, the horrific white coat syndrome consumes them. Many parents find themselves being embarrassed when they have to drag their screaming child to the back. You know that it’s the best for them, but it is definitely a chore.
Many children associate the doctor’s office with needles. Anyone in scrubs or a medical jacket appears to be an enemy set out to hurt them. Instead of making this a struggle for your child and yourself, it’s important that parent’s find creative ways to soothe their child’s fears.
Talk to your child prior to the visit and explain why it’s important to get a checkup. Make sure you assure them that the medical staff are their friends and will not harm them. Explain that they just want to make sure they are healthy. Next, ask if they have any questions to reassure them before you get there. Many parents attempt to trick their children into going and it usually ends with a hysterical scene. It’s a good idea to bring an item or two to entertain the little one while waiting. This will also come in handy while you speak with the doctor.
Most tantrums begin just as the doctor walks into the room. If you have a small child, a bottle and pacifier are a must have to keep the child calm. For older children, a favorite toy or video game will keep them preoccupied. When the time comes that your child needs a vaccination, it’s important that you do your part to help them through it.
Many parents simply step aside, which makes it a traumatic experience for the child and difficult for the medical professional. Instead try speaking calmly to your child and keep their attention on you in the opposite direction of the needle. It’s best to grab their attention ahead of time and keep them from ever seeing the needle.
A trip to the doctor does not have to be a traumatic experience. If children are better prepared for a visit, it can be a pleasant experience for everyone involved. More importantly, it will give your child peace of mind.