Medical Visits: Making Them Easier

How can I make a doctor’s visit easier for my child?

  • Schedule an appointment at a time when your youngster won’t be needing a nap.
  • Feed your child before the visit so he won’t be hungry.
  • Bring a stuffed animal, security blanket, pacifier, or snack with you to keep your child busy in the waiting room. These items may also calm him during the exam.
  • To make the physical exam go easier, practice the exam at home. Ask your child to hold still while you look in his ears with a small flashlight. Ask him to open his mouth wide and show you his tongue. Then have him take some deep breaths through an open mouth. Gently press on his tummy while he’s lying down, but don’t tickle him. If he expects to be tickled whenever someone touches his abdomen, it will be difficult for the doctor to examine his abdomen. Also have your child practice being the doctor and examining a stuffed animal.

What if my child is scared of going to the doctor?

If your child is afraid to go to the doctor because of previous shots or procedures, try to help him associate the doctor’s office with more pleasant events.

When you are in the neighborhood, occasionally drop in to say hello to the nurses and doctors. Stay for only a few minutes and encourage your youngster to give hugs to the nurses and doctor. Then give your child a food treat. This approach will gradually help your child look forward to visits.

Be sure no one threatens your child with comments such as, “If you don’t behave, I’ll take you to the doctor.” Threatening children with visits to the doctor or with shots makes the doctor’s job far more difficult.

Written by Barton D. Schmitt, MD, author of “My Child Is Sick,” American Academy of Pediatrics Books.
Pediatric Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2010-07-20
Last reviewed: 2014-06-10
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright ©1986-2015 Barton D. Schmitt, MD. All rights reserved.

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