Children sometimes need blood tests from a medical lab to provide doctors with valuable information about their health. But blood tests can be frightening for younger patients, especially if they fear needles. As a parent, there are several steps you can take to help your child move through the process calmly and comfortably. Here are a few tips to preparing your little one.
A Guide to Readying Children for Blood Tests
Explain the Process Ahead of Time
Most children feel less anxious about blood tests if they know what to expect. If your child is old enough to understand, explain what the experience will be like in simple, yet realistic terms. It’s tempting to soften the truth for your child, but it’s better to acknowledge that while the prick of the needle might hurt, the pain will fade quickly. It’s also helpful to explain why blood work is necessary and to reassure them that all lab technicians are trained to complete the process quickly and gently.
Unless your doctor advises otherwise, make sure your child is well hydrated before arriving at the lab. It will be easier for technicians to find veins to withdraw a blood sample and will minimize the need for multiple sticks. It will also help prevent your child from feeling light-headed after the visit.
Minimize Pre-Visit Stress
If a child arrives at the lab already stressed, the experience may be more upsetting than necessary. For this reason, it’s best to schedule the appointment at a time when you don’t have to rush and when your little one is well-rested.
Offer a Distraction
When it’s time for the blood test, distract your child so they don’t focus on the needle. One way to do this is to maintain eye contact with your child while having a relaxed conversation. If possible, hold their hand for comfort. Have your little one look at other interesting things, such as a favorite stuffed animal or festive office decorations. Talk to your technician beforehand, as they’re experienced with children and have strategies to keep their minds off the process.
Use Positive Reinforcement
Once the test is complete, be sure to congratulate your child and let them know how proud you are of their maturity. Reward them with a small treat, if you think it’s appropriate. This positive reinforcement helps kids realize that the process isn’t as bad as they anticipated, making future lab visits less stressful.
If your child needs a blood test, Rochester Regional Health Laboratories is here to make the experience stress-free. Serving the Monroe County, NY area for more than 40 years, this facility strives to make the collection process as pleasant as possible for kids and adults alike. To learn more about their convenient screening tests, visit this lab online. If you have questions about locations, services, or appointments, call a friendly team member at (800) 525-5227.