At Huneycutt Family Medicine, we love seeing our patients young and old. However, we understand that some of our patients aren’t exactly excited to be visiting our office. This is especially true when it comes to small children. Children often see staff as strangers, and having strangers invade their personal space is quite distressing. Unfortunately, when a child is upset during an appointment, it can just make the entire thing more difficult. The child makes bad memories at one appointment and has more to dread at the next appointment, often leading to higher levels of distress. A negative spiral can begin, making any appointment a major ordeal. We are here to say that things don’t have to be that way!
Our staff has experience with setting children at ease, and we will do everything we can. However, we see ourselves as a team with the parents of our young patients, and it really helps when we can all work together to make the experience as painless as possible for the kiddos! In today’s blog, we are sharing some little things you can do as a parent to set your child at ease before, during, and after an appointment with us.
Don’t have your child go to the doctor alone.
We understand that you may not be able to get out of work in order to take your child to the doctor. Grandparents or other care providers can usually step in during these instances. The key is ensuring your child does not go into his or her first few appointments alone. You or another authority figure need to be present. Your child will take his or her cues from how authority figures react to the doctor, so being present, calm, and happy will teach your child that the doctor’s office is not a bad place.
Listen to your instincts.
If you do everything you can to make your child’s experience great but he or she becomes very afraid of a specific doctor rather than the overall experience, it’s probably a good idea to ask some questions. Ask your child why he or she fears this doctor and, if you can, check in with other parents whose kids are treated by the same doctor to see if they have the same reaction. If you discover that your child’s fears are echoed by other kids, go ahead and find a new doctor. If you can, check in with other parents you trust for recommendations.
Help your child know what to expect.
We all feel more comfortable about new experiences when we know what to expect. Books and role playing are both incredible options when it comes to giving your child a taste of what a doctor’s office is like. You can even invest in a toy doctor’s set and demonstrate the basic checks the doctor will do, including blood pressure, heartbeat, ears, and throat. If your child loves to read, books are a perfect tool as well.