Secrets to Tantrum-Free Doctor Visits

By in Parenting on 25 June 2010

A regular visit to the doctor is inevitable for every child. Children go to their pediatrician for routine check-ups, vaccinations and emergency visits (at times). Infants require no briefing or tricks to get them examined. But once the babies grow older and become aware of the situation, they get scared and apprehensive. Thus, they throw embarrassing temper tantrums.

Each parent’s secret is different when it comes to preparing their child for a tantrum-free visit to the doctor. Here are some of them:

  1. Discuss the plan. Let your child know that you are paying the doctor a visit. You don’t want your kid to feel blindsided. It can be done days or a few hours before you leave the house. Explain the reason why you have to go to the clinic or hospital so your child understands how important it is.
  2. Play ‘pretend’. Practice doing the medical exam at home. Use toys or things that resemble actual medical devices such as stethoscope and syringe. Playing pretend doctor will get your child acquainted with the process of a check-up. Hopefully, he will be more cooperative in the actual event.
  3. Doctors are friends. Your child should see the doctor as a nice and friendly person, not an enemy who would hurt him. Make the doctor’s name sound familiar – use ‘aunt’ or ‘uncle’ or other creative names when referring to them. Never use the doctor to scare your child or to get them to follow instructions.
  4. Role model. Schedule your tot’s appointment at the same day as an older sibling. Your child would most likely feel less tensed when he sees a role model go through an examination. You can also bring a doll as a replacement, if he is a lone child.
  5. Avoid the waiting room. Children’s fears may increase as they sit in the waiting room, waiting for the unknown. Their feeling is aggravated when they see other kids come out of the practitioner’s office crying. Confirm your appointment before leaving the house and make sure you arrive on time.
  6. Get busy. Don’t let your kids’ imagination worsen their fears. If you must wait around for your turn with the pediatrician, keep your child busy by giving him a snack or a toy. Play some games or go around the hospital for a little tour to keep their minds off the dreaded vaccination.
  7. Offer comfort. Stay beside your child throughout the check-up. Your child’s fears will subside when he knows you are there to give him comfort. Hold his hand or give him a warm hug as he receives his vaccination. Let your child cry if he feels like it. At the same time, praise your child for his courage after the ordeal.

A tantrum-free doctor’s trip with your child means it is a successful one. You can also expect less tantrums in future appointments as your child gets used to having a positive mood when going to the doctor.


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