No matter how kind and welcoming a doctor’s office is, it can be a pretty scary place for your little ones. Some children associate a medical office with needle pricks, scary noises, strange sights and weird smells. If your child is afraid of going to see the doctor, here are some ways that you can help your kids overcome their fear.
If your child is expressing fear of the doctor, assure them that you’ll be with them each step of the way. If they notice that you’re comfortable and not afraid of going, then that will make them feel more secure about the whole process. Stay upbeat and positive and your kids will take their cue from your attitude.
If you can, explain to your child a little bit about what they can expect before they get to the doctor’s office. With a toy doctor kit, show them what they can expect during a checkup. Listen to their heart and lungs with a toy stethoscope, take their temperature and stick on a fun bandage. Allow them to play the role of the patient and the doctor. In addition to this, read books about what it’s like to go to the doctor.
Validating your child’s fears is important because it shows them that you understand their feelings. If you say “don’t be afraid” or “don’t cry”, it may appear that you’re less caring or credible. Instead, acknowledge that you know they’re afraid and that the experience might not be the most enjoyable. Then, encourage them that it will be over quickly and that you’ll be right there. Share a story about when you were afraid and how you dealt with it.
If your child has something special from home that may offer them comfort throughout the visit, let them bring it. It might be a special doll or stuffed animal, a blanket, or pacifier. These things can offer comfort in an unfamiliar situation.
Once the doctor’s visit is over and they’ve done their best, reward them. This could just be with a special sticker, lollipop, or with a visit to a movie or ice cream shop. Don’t bribe them, but if you tell them ahead of time, it can give them something to look forward to at the end of the visit.
Our team of professionals at Pediatric Cardiology Center of Oregon is experienced in working with children of all ages. We understand their fears and will do our best to work with you and your child to make the visit as easy as possible. Contact us today for an appointment.