When kids know what to expect at a doctor’s visit, they are less likely to have a meltdown. This can include anything from a blood sample to a shot.
It’s also a good idea to call ahead and find out exactly what to expect at the appointment using simple words appropriate for your child’s age.
Make the Appointment Early
For a smooth visit, make the appointment an hour or two before your child normally naps or eats. This will allow them to stay calm and relaxed throughout the appointment.
Talk with your Denver Pediatrician about what to expect at the appointment. Many offices will give you information about the types of medical equipment that may be used, such as a stethoscope or blood pressure cuff. This way, you can teach your kids about the various tools the healthcare professionals will use before encountering them.
For kids who are visual learners, you can also show them pictures of the medical building and exam rooms before their appointment. However, experts say to avoid telling them too much about the experience in advance, as this can increase their anxiety.
Bring Your Child’s Favorite Toys
Sometimes kids don’t need toys at the doctor’s office, but bring some of their favorites if they do. This will keep them occupied and help them stay calm during the visit.
It’s also a good idea to bring books and other items to read or do. This way, your child will have something to focus on during their visit and may forget they are at the doctor’s office.
If your child is worried about something at the doctor’s, do your best to answer their questions honestly and compassionately. Be sure to explain that the exam or shot won’t hurt. You can even role-play with a toy doctor kit to get them used to the experience ahead of time! Also, plan a fun activity or reward for after the appointment.
Talk About the Visit
Kids want to feel included in the process and able to express themselves. Talk with them about what to expect at the doctor’s office and listen to their questions.
If they’re worried about an exam, reassure them that it won’t be as bad as they think. Also, if they’re concerned about getting shots, explain honestly why they are necessary for good health (and don’t tell them you won’t give them any; this can backfire).
Children are perceptive and can pick up on their parent’s anxiety, so try to project calmness and positivity. Your child’s health is at stake, so choose a physician and practice you trust and feel comfortable with. Review your pediatrician’s website and read up on their practices and procedures.
Bring Your Child’s Medical Records
Your baby will go to the doctor a lot in their first year. They’ll have a well-baby visit 3 to 5 days after birth and a checkup at least once every few months.
Your child’s pediatrician will probably measure their weight, height, and head circumference. They’ll plot these numbers on a growth chart to see their development.
They’ll likely ask about your baby’s sleeping habits and help you set up a safe sleep routine. They’ll also talk about your baby’s immunization schedule.
Be sure to bring your child’s medical records to the appointment. If you ever need to transfer your baby’s care, having their records will make the process smoother. Plus, you can use them to understand the doctor’s diagnosis better.
Schedule a Follow-Up Appointment
Trips to the doctor are never fun for kids, but they mustn’t be dreadful. Developing a healthy patient-doctor relationship early on can have long-lasting positive effects, including a child’s self-esteem and health habits later in life.
Your doctor will likely want to examine and weigh your baby during the appointment. For this reason, be sure to bring an extra outfit and a blanket.
Children can also eat during the visit, so bring a bottle or pacifier. Parents should try to be calm and reassuring about the appointment and not let their anxiety show on their faces, as this can make the situation more difficult for the child. Children often internalize their parents’ feelings about doctors and medicine.