It’s tough when your child needs to go in for a health check-up, whether routine or not. And while you know it’s good for them, it might take some convincing to get them through it. To help you give your child the best patient experience possible, try out these five things.
Change How You Talk About It
Maybe you really don’t like going to the doctor yourself. Chances are, your child can tell and they might start to be afraid of their own visits because of it. Instead of letting fear get the best of you, try out a different approach.
When talking about a check-up, whether yours or theirs, speak clearly and calmly. You want your child to feel safe when they arrive at the office, and you can reassure them with a positive attitude. You should also talk about it more routinely in this positive way. Your child can then become more comfortable with the idea of visiting the next time it comes up.
You can also communicate clearly and accurately with the doctors and staff taking care of your child ahead of time. Make sure you know your child’s updated health history and medications so staff can treat your child accurately. If you have complaints or concerns, talk about these without your child present and in an understanding way.
See a Pediatric Professional
There are many types of healthcare professionals to choose from, and many of them specialize in certain age groups. If your own providers don’t treat children, find a pediatric or family doctor, or a kid dentist that your child will feel comfortable around.
These practices tend to fill the office with fun toys, exciting pictures and paintings, and staff that are great with children. They might even give rewards to children for being great patients.
Make It a Learning Opportunity
When you’re talking about any type of doctor’s visit, take the time to explain what happens when you get there (in that positive light we talked about). Encourage your child to ask questions before you go.
The physician or staff members caring for your child are also happy to talk with your child and teach them about what they do. They’ve had practice making it sound less scary, too. By the end, you may end up taking a future doctor home with you.
Use Comforts & Distractions
If your child is especially anxious in the healthcare setting, pull together a few items that can help everyone get through the experience with the least amount of pain possible. Your child may have a favorite toy or blanket that can accompany them on the visit. Some dentist offices even offer a television at each chair to keep minds entertained during cleanings.
You can also use things like music and stories to distract your child’s mind from what might be a traumatic experience otherwise.
Offer Treats & Rewards
Rewards can have an amazing effect on your child’s behavior while at the doctor’s office. It doesn’t have to be something extravagant, but use your best judgment when selecting a treat for your child. It could be literally that: their favorite ice cream or meal that evening, a small toy, a visit to the playground, or a movie they’ve been waiting to see.
While the promise of getting something afterward is effective, don’t use this tactic too often or you might find your child needs bigger rewards to deter their tantrums.