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Facing Fears: Ways to Keep Your Child Calm During Doctor’s Appointments

It’s normal for some kids to fear doctor’s appointments. In fact, over half of the American parents say that their toddlers are not comfortable when visiting the pediatrician’s office, according to a poll from the University of Michigan. As a result, about one in 25 parents is postponing their kid’s visits for vaccines.

While it’s essential that your kid gets their regular check-ups and shots, it’s often difficult to communicate this to them. Calm them down during their regular doctor’s appointment in Utah with these tips.

Be Honest About It

You may be tempted to just lie to them about going to the doctor and the procedures they’ll go through, but that may make things worse. In a press release on the  University of Michigan report, one of the researchers said that telling your child that there won’t be shots or that it won’t hurt may increase their anxiety. If you’re met with resistance, try your best to explain why you need to go to their pediatrician. Tell them that it isn’t a punishment and that everybody needs to go to the doctor when they get sick.

Know All About the Doctor

If you want to normalize your visits to the clinic, let your kids know all about the doctor. There are many children’s books about visits to the doctor. The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia recommends books like ABC Doctor, which is an alphabet of hospital or clinic terms. Stories about going to the doctor or pediatric dentist like “Daniel Visits the Doctor” or “Just Going to the Dentist” may also help ease your child’s anxiety.

If your kid is more interested in toys, get them a play doctor kit. Show them how their physician goes through standard procedures like height and weight measurement, eye and ear check-ups, and more. Then, let them be the doctor and give you or their stuffed animal an examination. This way, they understand that their pediatrician isn’t there to harm them but to help them get better.

Brace for Impact

Even if your kid is calm every time you go for check-ups, there’s still a chance that their anxiety will come back once they see a needle. Their pediatricians have been through these types of situations multiple times. It may be helpful to ask them about things that other parents do to decrease their child’s fear. In any case, distracting your child with their favorite song or video may help lessen their anxiety. During a shot, giving your child a comforting hug may also calm them down.

Give Them Rewards

Mom with child and doctor

Sometimes, you just have to give your kids an offer they can’t refuse. You can promise to go to the theme park or buy a game they want when they go to the doctor. You can even surprise them with their favorite snack or beverage after every check-up or shot. They deserve it for being such brave troopers!

It’s difficult to deal with your child’s cries and screams during a doctor’s appointment, but such visits are needed to keep them in perfect health. With some honesty, education, and comforting, however, they’ll eventually warm up to their pediatrician. Who knows, they may even end up dreaming to be a doctor someday!

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