Calming Your kid Before a Doctor’s Visit

We grew up with the same fear. The formidable man in a white coat, a black wiry thing dangling around his neck which when used spelt trouble, scary looks and the horrible smell of tincture iodine before the ultimate painful thing called injection. Ugh!

Why would our kids feel any different? Although the clinics are now more cheerful and kid friendly, kids today still have the same fears.

  • Fear of pain- there is always the anxiety of a medical procedure the kids fear, will hurt. And of course there is always the injection.
  • Fear of the place- sometimes kids are required to be examined and the doctor prefers the interfering parents to wait outside. Kids get terrified of the doctor, the nurse and the heavy apparatus around. Especially when they are separated from their parents.

You have to let your kids go through this sometimes. There is no alternative. But what you can do is minimise their fear and make the overall experience of a doctor’s visit a little more acceptable if not pleasurable.

1. Prepare them before the visit

Tell them why they need to see a doctor and what they should expect. Whether it is a routine check- up or consultation for an illness. Assure them you will be around and as an added perk you can buy them a toy or their favourite chocolate.

2. Consulting a friendly doctor helps a lot

My son had a fall and we rushed him to a doctor nearby who was available. Throughout the way I dreaded how I would handle my kid during the sutures. But to my utmost surprise the doctor was so friendly and capable that he handled the situation with great ease. He struck a chord with my son and even before we knew it his sutures were done. My son is much older now but he still prefers to visit the same doctor.

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3. Merge your visit with a friend

Now this is what a friend of mine usually does and converts the doctor’s regular visit into a play date sort of a thing. Her daughter used to throw a huge tantrum before every check- up and it was embarrassing to deal with her in public. So she asked her friend whose kid was of approximately the same age to plan her visit together. Both kids found each other’s presence very reassuring and they were considerably calmer.

4. Give a virtual tour

Show your kid pictures or a video of the medical procedure or the treatment he is required to take. This takes away the fear of the unknown and your child will stop imagining the worst. My 8 year old nephew had to undergo a scan and he was terrified to the point of sickness. On the doctor’s advice we showed him a video of the whole process. His mom made him see the scanning machine as a cave and the whole thing as a hide and seek game. When he finally went there he had a big grin on his face.

The mistake we parents make sometimes is that we see a situation from our point of view and from the lens of our matured age. We then expect the kids to see it the same way and that is when all the problems begin. Coming down to their level sometimes, acknowledging their fears and then working towards a solution is something they will thank us for a long time to come.

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