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Preparing for Doctor Visits

Have you ever heard anyone say, “I just can’t wait to feel that blood pressure cuff on my arm?” We haven’t either. If you do not look forward to your doctor visits, imagine how your children feel. Fortunately, with a little preparation, your child’s next doctor visit can have a very good prognosis.

Whether it’s for a routine well-check or for a specific illness, your child will naturally feel anxious and afraid. Some sources of this fear include worrying about being separated from you, pain, the doctor and the unknown. You can alleviate these fears with some preparation before you go.

The best way to prepare is to explain to your child that you’re going to do some role-playing. See, we’re already using the word “play,” so we’re off to a good start. Have your child pretend to be the doctor and her plush toy can be the patient. Use a toy doctor’s kit to go through all of the normal pokes and prods that will occur in the real visit. It’s important to be honest with your child about what might hurt a little, so she’ll know what to expect.

Another way to prepare for the visit is to read a book to your child about going to the doctor. There are many good children’s books available about both doctor and dentist visits. Talk with her and be sure to answer her questions with a reassuring tone.

Before you go, be sure to write down any questions that you may have. Once you’re at the visit, stay with your child the entire time. It’s important to be calm; your child will sense it if you’re worried. She can even bring her plush toy and toy doctor kit with her. Let her feel her emotions. If she cries, reassure her that everything will be okay.

After the appointment, your child deserves a reward. Most pediatricians have suckers, toys or stickers for their brave patients. Be sure to congratulate her on how well she did and remind her how easy that was.

Although it’s one thing that neither the parent nor the child particularly likes, a doctor’s visit can be an easy experience with a little preparation and role-playing.

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