5 Tips for Parents with Kids Who Are Afraid to Go to the Doctor

Kids love certain things – playing games, watching movies, eating sweets, laughing. Going to the doctor doesn’t always fall into the category of a child’s favorite activities. Many children actually develop a fear of going to the doctor, as it can be filled with sights and sounds they are not used to. Children can also associate the doctor with getting vaccinations, a common source of fear for a child.

If you are a parent struggling with keeping your kids calm when it’s time to schedule a doctor’s visit, you are not alone. Here are some tips for making your visit as smooth and painless as possible.

1. Educate Beforehand

One of the best ways to change your child’s perception of the doctor is to invest in kid-friendly educational resources before your visit. This can include watching YouTube videos or television programs designed for children, or walking your kids through a typical visit with the help of a children’s book. Even a doctor’s playset with a stethoscope and lab coat can help normalize the idea of doctor visits and even add an element of fun. Anything you can do to prepare the child before the visit will make your experience easier when it comes time to get the kids into the car.

2. Don’t Trick Your Children

A common mistake parents make involves issuing empty promises or effectively deceiving their child in order to elicit a certain response. For example, telling your child you are going somewhere other than the doctor, or telling them that they won’t be getting a shot, and then actually performing those things is a harmful cycle to create. Your child’s fear of the doctor is a much smaller issue than them being unable to place trust in you.

3. Be a Source of Comfort

Once the day of the visit has arrived, make an extra effort to provide comfort and reassurance to your child, especially during the visit. While in the doctor’s exam room, comforting touches on the shoulder or holding hands can help make the child feel that you are looking out for them. During a vaccination, allow the child to stay near to you, and when possible, always stay in the same room as the child during your visit.

4. Offer a Distraction

Providing your child with a few distractions can prove useful. On the car ride to the doctor’s office, perhaps allow your child to look at a screen or play with a puzzle. Even while in the exam room, captivating your child’s attention with a video or with a story can help distract them if they need a vaccination. Keeping the child’s eyes away from the needle will help lower their stress level before the vaccine is administered.

5. Give a Small Reward

It is widely accepted that positive reinforcement has enormous benefits in the workplace, with athletics, and in various other applications. It has also been proven to have benefits in shaping a child’s behavior. Offering a small reward to your child for going to the doctor, such as a piece of candy, a bit of extra screen time, or a trip to the park can soften the experience and leave a lasting, positive impression of the visit overall.

Consult Richfield Medical Group

If you know your child harbors fear surrounding doctor’s visits, having a plan in place and implementing strategies in advance can drastically improve their overall experience and will lessen their stress levels down the road. At Richfield Medical Group, the health of you and your loved ones comes first. Contact us today at https://richfieldmedicalgroup.com/ to schedule a hassle-free visit for your child.