Many parents have gone through the meltdown their children have once they are told they are going to the doctor. For them, this is a brand-new experience that will bring fear and anxiety with it. Whether you are taking them in for a routine child exam, or they need to see a specialist for a specific condition, your child will feel fear, anxiety, and even guilt. After you have successfully found their pediatrician, it is important as a parent to learn how to prep your child for their first doctor’s visit.
It is completely natural and common for your child to feel these emotions. To make the experience of their first visit go smoothly, you need to properly prepare them for what is to come.
You may think that keeping your child’s appointment a secret can help ease their fears and anxiety, but it can actually cause more stress than needed. It is important to let them know about their appointment before the day so that they are aware and can mentally prepare themselves. However, once they have been made aware of the appointment, their fears can quickly set in. This means you should not tell them too early. Letting them know a day or two prior should give them plenty of time to get ready without letting them over-think it.
To help ease your child’s worries, provide them with any information about their doctor and the upcoming visit. When discussing what the experience will be like and what exactly will happen during, stay positive. You should always use positive language and paint the visit in a positive light. Let them know that their doctor can be trusted and wants to help make sure they are healthy. Always tell the truth as well. By speaking about the visit and the doctor in a positive and frank manner, you will build up your child’s confidence and comfort level.
One of the best ways to help ease your child’s worries is by engaging in pretend play prior to their appointment. Explain the process to your child then use pretend play to reenact the process with you like the doctor and them as the patient. You can even reverse the roles to help them familiarize themselves more with the situation. Children often learn about their world through play. This will allow them to feel more comfortable about the upcoming experience.
There are countless media that are designed to help teach children about different scenarios they will encounter in life, including a doctor’s visit. There are helpful picture books that explain to them the process in a fun way, and there are even children’s shows like Daniel Tiger and Doc McStuffins that have helpful episodes highlighting these visits. Many children are more comfortable after being exposed through these shows.
Many pediatric clinics have waiting rooms that are set up to ensure that children do not become too anxious prior to their visit, but that does not always work. It can be helpful to bring a toy or stuffed animal from home that can make your child feel more comfortable in the waiting room while keeping them distracted and busy prior to their exam.
Your child’s first doctor’s visit is often a very stressful time for them. This often leads to you as the parent feeling stressed as well. That is why it is so important to properly prepare them for their first appointment. You want them to build a comfortable and positive idea about what a doctor is like. If you were to schedule an appointment with Tots N Teens Pediatrics, we will be sure to help you and your little one feel as comfortable and safe as possible.