We are a family practice, and we love it. We get to play an important role in the health of people of all ages, and there’s nothing we like better. However, as we said in our last blog, children can be particularly nervous about doctor’s appointments. These young people can find the doctor’s office very nerve-wracking and upsetting, which usually just makes their appointments more difficult.
We are ready to be part of your team when it comes to making a doctor’s visit as pleasant as possible. We already shared some tips in our last blog, and we have a few more tactics for you to try. Read on!
Acknowledge your child’s fears.
Saying things like “Don’t cry,” “Don’t worry,” and “It won’t hurt” don’t actually help your child feel better. They actually can make you seem like you don’t care and you don’t tell the truth. Instead, reassure your child that you understand this isn’t a fun experience. Tell your child that you’ll be there the whole time, and it will be over quickly. Lastly, never promise your child he or she won’t need a shot unless you’ve confirmed that verbally with the doctor. Instead, you can tell your child he or she won’t need shots every time you go to the doctor.
Provide something to anticipate after the appointment.
No matter how your child behaves during the appointment, make sure to reward him or her. It can be as simple as showing praise and promising how excited Daddy or Grandma will be to hear about it. You can go to a movie or play on a playground. Again, do not make the reward depend on your child’s behavior at the appointment. If your child cannot control his or her fears and gets upset, you shouldn’t inflict more pain by refusing a reward. Lastly, make sure you draw your child’s attention to parts of the appointment that were great, like getting a sticker. Emphasize those good things, and your child is more likely to look forward to them next time.
Bring along a favorite toy or stuffed animal.
While we’ve seen that blankets and pacifiers can make a difference, beloved dolls and stuffed animals really pack a punch when it comes to reducing anxiety, especially when it comes to the doctor’s examination. If your child has older siblings, you can have the older siblings go first to show the younger one that everything is okay and it’s good to be brave.
Be the source of control and comfort.
Nobody likes being touched by a stranger. Children can find this especially upsetting. If your child feels trapped up on a high table and separated from you, it can be quite difficult to stay calm. See if it will work for your child to sit in your lap during the examination. It will be much easier for your child to tolerate a stranger invading his or her personal space with you holding on.
At Huneycutt Family Medicine, we are proud to be Loveland and Fort Collin’s premium primary care physician. Contact us for an appointment today!