Few, if any children, naturally like seeing a doctor. Most of the time when they are seeing a doctor they already feel bad, and the pokes and prods just make them feel all the more uncomfortable. Well checks are usually done only once or twice a year so it is difficult to set up a correlation with the doctor’s offices that does not involve being sick and not feeling good. There are things parents can do to help reduce the fear and anxiety their child feels when they go to the doctor. No matter who their doctor is, your child will likely have some level of fear, so try these steps wit them:
- Accompany Your Child- parents should always accompany their child to the doctors whenever possible. If another family member has to take them to some of the appointments mom or dad should try to go to the first few to set the tone and help the child adjust to the new doctor.
- Read Books and Role Play- children learn by watching and doing and mimicking so find books to read to them about going to the doctor and what happens there. Play dress up and pretend to be doctors and let them examine their dolls or teddy bears. Doing this helps it be more familiar to them.
- Validate Their Fears- never tell your child that there’s no reason to cry or that a shot won’t hurt or hat they have to be brave and not cry. Crying is normal and their fear is normal too so acknowledge it and t ell them its ok but that there are ways they can be big boys or girls and be brave.
- Provide Comfort and Control- hug your child and hold them when they are scared or crying. Have them sit in your lap or hold onto your hand when they are afraid. If they are old enough let them talk and give them choices such as whether they will look at their eyes or ears first so they feel in control.
- Bring a Favorite Toy- letting the child bring their favorite stuffed animal or toy from home can be a good way to comfort them and distract them during the checkup, especially with things like shots. The doctor can also show them what they are going to do by pretending to do it with their toy first.
No matter what way you go about helping your child get over his or her fear of doctors, it is important to find the best pediatrician in San Diego to help make the process easier on everyone involved. Children’s Primary Care Medical Group is a great place to begin your search!