If your child is terrified of doctor appointments these tips should help him get over that fear. Talk with him in a relaxed way and don’t be apprehensive. He will pick up on your fears. Explain what the visit will entail and give his specific details. Leave nothing to the imagination.
Your Child’s Doctor Appointments
Is your child afraid of the doctor’s office? A large number of children are. A big part of the fear is because the child doesn’t know what to expect. Sometimes they have seen television shows of major trauma and associate that with the doctor’s visit. And who can blame them with all the gory medical shows on television? (Please, don’t allow your young child to watch these shows.) To help the child understand why he needs to see the doctor, talk to your child about his appointment. Explain why he or she is going and what will happen when he sees the doctor.
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There are some steps you can take to make the child feel less fearful. Buy a coloring book about visiting the doctor’s office and explain the pictures to your child as he colors. Tell the child why the doctor is using the stethoscope and that it will feel cold. Play a game about going to the doctor’s office. Buy a toy doctor’s kit or put a long ladle in the refrigerate and when it’s cold play it’s a stethoscope. Let the child listen to your chest and listen to his. You can use a plastic spoon for a tongue depressor. Get the child to play doctor and take care of his stuffed animals. Play these games with the child for a few days before his appointment and he will be familiar with what’s going to happen. Model the behavior you want your child to have in the doctors office. If he sees you are apprehensive he will be too. Don’t make a big deal out of it.
Of course, the needle will hurt. Don’t lie to your child. Tell him it will be a little stick but it will be over quickly. Take the younger kids with the older siblings to doctors appointment so they will be used to the routine. Take them to your appointments. Let them see what happens and how you handle it.
Bring a stuffed toy and let the doctor examine the animal first to make the child feel more comfortable about what will happen to him during the visit. Learning to handle a visit to the doctor is a big hurdle for some children so compliment your child and tell him or her how proud you are that they behaved so well. Take him to play in the park afterwards or for a visit with grandmother, not for a reward but to celebrate his bravery.
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