Many kids feel scared or anxious when going to their family doctors. This can be frustrating for the parents, but also for their child. Because it is unavoidable, however, figuring out tactics to help make doctor’s visits less stressful for both you and your child can be a huge help. Here are five ways to help your child overcome their fear of the doctor.
How to Help Your Kid Overcome Their Fear of the Doctor
1. Be Honest
As tempting as it can be, don’t lie to them or try to overly sugar-coat the details of their appointment. Telling them they aren’t going to receive a shot when they are not only upsets them in the moment, but creates distrust between you and your child. Instead, be honest with them, and explain what may or may not happen in a way that helps them to understand. Use positive language and the promise of a treat after the appointment to help reduce their anxiety if they are nervous about any of the details.
2. Reward Them
Following up a trip to the family doctor’s office with a trip to get ice cream can be a great way to get your child to associate positivity with what they consider to be a negative experience. Another way is to talk up their good behavior. Telling them how you’re so proud of them you can’t wait to tell their parent or grandparent will make them feel impressive and lift their spirits.
3. Bring Their Favorite Toy
Having a favorite stuffed animal, small toy, or handheld device can help alleviate anxiety and distract children from their family doctors. A pacifier or blanket can offer comfort, but a pretend exam done on a stuffed animal or doll can help assure the child it’s safe.
4. Talk Through Their Feelings
Sometimes when children are afraid of their family doctors, it is for a specific reason. Talking through it can help identify the cause of their anxiety, whether that be vaccinations or because they find the doctor’s stethoscope scary. Once you know why they are afraid, help them understand why it is needed and safe, and use yourself as an example. Talk to them about your own experiences with the doctor, and assure them that they’re safe and keep you healthy. This will help your child feel reassured that nothing is wrong.
5. Be There
Many parents send their children to their family doctors with babysitters or other relatives. By being there for your child, you assure them nothing is wrong and that they are safe.
For all your family medicine needs, turn to HDR Healthcare Network. They also provide trusted senior care, urgent care, and internal medicine to the Bronx, NY, area. Give them a call at (929) 256-5005 or visit them online to schedule an appointment with a family doctor.