Shots, strangers, scales and medical equipment can be intimidating for kids. Here are 5 tips for preparing your kids for a doctor’s visit.
- Talk about why you are going. Give your child advance notice so the visit isn’t a surprise. Explain with positive language what will happen. For example, “We get shots to protect you and keep you healthy. It might hurt a little, but you can do hard things.” Or, “the doctor will check on how you're growing and developing to make sure you are healthy. It is a safe space to ask questions.” Or, “the doctor needs to check you to find out how to fix this and help you get better.”
- Role-play with younger children. Children learn through play, and role-playing helps them visualize and understand what will happen at the doctor visit—like how a blood pressure cuff hugs the arm or how it feels to have someone look at the mouth, eyes, and ears.
- Explain privacy. We teach our kids about the importance of body privacy. A doctor’s exam is the only exception, so it is important your kids understand why a doctor needs to examine their entire body to make sure they are healthy. Reassure your child you will be in the room with them.
- Give an incentive. Decide with your child on a healthy incentive for getting a shot or holding still during an exam prior to your visit. For example, “If you try your hardest to hold still and follow directions during your doctor’s visit, we will go to the park afterward.” If done in the moment at the visit, the incentive becomes a bribe and is less effective.
- Pick the right doctor. Look for a pediatrician who follows evidence-based medicine and who communicates easily with your child in a friendly manner. Exam rooms that are kid-friendly are a plus too.
Experience the difference with a board-certified pediatrician, Robin Edward, MD. Schedule appointments online or call 505-425-3566.