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Do you have a child who is hesitant to go to the doctor? Perhaps they had a negative experience one time and now they are petrified of doctor’s appointments. How can you make the experience a more positive one for them? The following tips will help.

 

Get Details Ahead of time

 

Call your doctor’s office before the appointment and get an understanding of what exactly you and your child can expect from the visit. Find out if there is a plan for any shots or blood work. If the answer is yes, you can prepare your child ahead of time, instead of in the moment.

 

Prepare your child through play

 

The world can be a big and scary place for children. Because there is so much they do not understand, one of the best ways to reach them is through their language: play. Role play the doctor visit with your child. Allow them to be the doctor and also the patient. Children become comfortable with things through play. This is also the perfect opportunity to introduce them to tools they may see at the doctor’s office. Buy a fake stethoscope and allow your child to explore it. This should get them not only prepared but maybe even excited when they see these tools during their visit.

 

Keep your language simple and developmentally appropriate

 

Use words and phrases your child understands when discussing the appointment. You know your child best. When talking about the blood pressure cuff, you can use words like “quick squeeze.” When talking about the shot refer to it as “medicine.” Reset the expectations your child has probably built up in their mind.

 

Utilize Distraction Techniques

 

One of the hardest parts of a doctor visit, for both children and adults, can be the waiting. Be prepared for this by bringing a comfort item, a favorite game and book. The more your child is distracted, the less time they will have to become nervous of the appointment.

 

Instead of dreading your child’s next doctor’s appointment, prepare for it! Get the details of the appointment ahead of time, role play the appointment through play, keep your language simple and utilize distraction techniques. All of these techniques will ease the tension for your child.