The concept of looking after yourself doesn’t necessarily translate to our children. And when our children end up having an injury or they go through their first lots of illnesses they are old enough to remember, their first visit to the doctors can be a very intimidating environment for them and it can be, of course, overwhelming for us. So what do we have to bear in mind when we are taking our children to the doctors for the first time so they feel safer, calmer, and the doctor can get to the root of the problem?
Practice the Visit at Home
If you are heading for an appointment you can familiarise your child with everything involving the environment. Look at any medical clinic design and you will see they are designed to be comforting, calm, and quiet. You can recreate this feeling at home but also pretend to be a doctor. You should also use language your child can understand rather than being technical. But you must remember to use the names of the devices that the doctor or nurse will use at the checkup so these terms don’t sound alarming to them.
Time It Right
Sometimes, if we give our children too much info about an appointment they can get worried way in advance. You can wait until the morning of the visit or when you are driving to the doctors to tell them where you’re going. It’s also important to put a positive spin on things. You can say things relating to how the doctor will take care of you and help you to stay healthy and strong, rather than use negative language. However, it’s important to not twist the truth. After all, if they are due a vaccine you need to explain that they will feel a little poke in their arm that will only hurt for a few seconds, and that you are going to be there the entire time.
Keep Close to Them
A child can feel vulnerable if they are lying on a table by themselves with a doctor towering over them. Letting them sit on your lap is going to make them feel safer. When it comes to checking the simple vitals, doctors and nurses have no problem doing these while your child will be cuddled up with you.
Give Them a Reward
The way you are acting after each visit should set up a pleasant experience the next time. Telling them that they did a great job and that they were brave, as well as giving them a reward is going to help them. But it should be a reward for visiting regardless of how they felt. If they were incredibly anxious, you can’t use this as an excuse to not give them a treat.
The doctors can be incredibly overwhelming for children, especially in the post-COVID world. Some children will be afraid of any doctor, but you also need to weigh up the overall experience because if the doctor is just not particularly good with children, you can always make a request to see another doctor.