How often should your child visit a healthcare professional? It’s suggested your children should visit the doctor seven times during the first four years of their birth. Called “well-child visits,” these checkups are necessary to ascertain your newborns stay healthy and grow normally.
However, many children are afraid of these visitations since they associate negative thoughts with healthcare practitioners. Thus, parents should help toddlers and infants overcome their fear of seeing a doctor. Children’s anxiety even makes 20% of parents struggle to concentrate on what the doctor’s saying, because of which they forget some important healthcare recommendations. So, help your kids fight this fear and trust the doctor.
Making your child trust doctors again
Several families deal with children who are somehow fearful of doctors/nurses. While some children are open about their dislike for doctors, others keep these fears a secret from their parents. How does their fear of doctors affect your children’s well-being? Surveys have shown that 1 out of 25 parents postponed vaccinating their children because of their anxiety. Learning why your children fear hospitals can help you overcome their dread. Usually, children associate the concept of pain with doctors. Similarly, a child may fear being examined by a stranger. The “fear of the unknown” also scares kids who don’t seem to understand the medical jargon being thrown around casually or the concept of shots and surgery.
Certain parents can’t just afford to skip an appointment with the doctor, especially those whose children are suffering from birth injuries. A healthcare professional’s negligence causes these injuries, and the child may need long-term medical attention for rehabilitation. As a parent, you can learn how to file a suit to receive some compensation for your child’s misfortune. This compensation can help you pay for your kid’s future medical expenses. Winning this lawsuit helps your newborn obtain the care your child deserves. However, you can’t risk the kid constantly fearing doctors and refusing to visit them. A parent can help a child conquer the fear of visiting a doctor by using the following strategies properly:
- Prepare them properly
How do you prepare your children for visiting the doctor? Educate them about medical processes by using age-appropriate books and YouTube videos. For instance, Curious George Visits the Dentist and Charlie Goes to the Doctor are some amazing reads for your doctor-fearing children. Use some kids’ shows as an example where a character visits the doctor. Eliminate the fear of the unknown with a proper instructive discussion and make them more comfortable about the upcoming appointment.
- Practice at home
Playing with a make-believe doctor kit can help children become familiar with medical processes and regain their confidence in the doctor’s expertise. Parents can practice visiting the doctor at home by, for instance, using a stethoscope on stuffed animals. Make them practice opening their mouths and exclaiming “aah.” Teach how doctors may look for “boo-boos” but use correct names for all devices. Hence, familiarity with these devices can make a clinic look not like such a strange place anymore.
- Talk to them
Why doesn’t your child like to visit the doctor? Parents should discuss this matter with their children. Sometimes, you can help your little ones overcome their fear of visiting the doctor by speaking to them and answering their questions. Even minor issues such as the clinic being colder than normal can upset your child and make them fearful of visiting the doctor. So, resolve these issues by talking to them and understanding their concerns. Hence, you can help your kids regain their confidence.
- Reward them properly
Don’t forget to reward your children when they have faced their fears and overcome them. Parents should associate positive feelings with a doctor’s appointment to help kids regain confidence. You can do that by offering them candy or ice cream after a doctor’s appointment to give them another incentive to visit the doctor and go along with medical procedures.
- Don’t joke around
Children don’t admire dishonesty and hate being lied to, especially when it comes to visiting doctors today. So, parents mustn’t joke about shots and refrain from creating fears. Realize that 89% of children aged 4-5 don’t like seeing a doctor because they’re afraid of needles. So, avoid promoting needle-phobia and don’t associate getting shots with anything harmful. Don’t make shots seem like a punishment, but tell your kids how vaccines help people stay healthy and happy.
- Accompany your child
Experts believe some children associate hospital visits with separation from parents, because of which they dislike seeing a doctor. So, parents should accompany their children instead of sending a grandparent with them since your presence will comfort them and make them overcome their fear of meeting a doctor. The company of their parents soothes children and restores their confidence in hospital visitations. Don’t let the trepidation of separation from parents overwhelm your children.
- Stay within reach
Accompanying them isn’t sufficient since children expect parents to stick around while they are treated. So, always remain within arm’s reach and ensure your child can see you there. Your kids will grow more confident about visiting the doctor if they realize you’re there to comfort them. Hasten to embrace your child if they begin to feel anxious about the medical checkup. Toddlers need their parents to stay within sight as separation can upset them and reinstate their fear of doctors.
- Time it accurately
Schedule a doctor’s appointment wisely and ascertain this schedule doesn’t conflict with your child’s mealtime or playtime. Since this conflict may disappoint your babies and make them dislike visiting a doctor. On second thoughts, just bring their toys and food along since you don’t know how long you must wait. Bringing these toys will let you keep your kids away from bacteria-infested waiting-room playthings. But the most important thing is to keep your child distracted from all this boring waiting.
- Offer some distractions
Learn about comfort positions to calm down a crying child. Distract your babies by using things they can observe around them. For instance, ask them to explain the framed pictures in the waiting-room area. You can keep the child distracted from shots by playing their favorite video on the smartphone too. Asking them to cough right before the needles pokes them can reduce the sensation of pricking. These methods can help your child grow more comfortable around doctors and be fearless again!
Most toddler-aged children share their fear of visiting doctors, surveys have indicated. It’s estimated that 50% of children aged 2-5 are afraid of healthcare practitioners. So, how can parents help them overcome this fear? We suggest that you ask your children to explain their concerns. Prepare them for a visit, always accompany them, and stay within arm’s reach. Schedule an appointment without conflicting it with the child’s mealtime or playtime. Distract them while they’re getting their shots, reward them for expressing bravery, and don’t joke around about needles. Be honest with them because lying about it makes them distrust you. That’s how you can help your children overcome their fear of visiting the doctor properly.