When it comes to heading to the doctor’s office, preparing your child for a visit can be a lot different from preparing yourself. Whereas you just have to plop yourself into the car and drive over to the office, knowing what to expect from all your other times visiting the doctor, your child may still be getting used to going to the doctor. Here are some tips on how to prepare your child and yourself for a visit to the doctor.
Explain Why We Visit the Doctor
First, you will need to explain exactly why people go to the doctor. If a child doesn’t have much experience seeing doctors, he or she might think of you as the ultimate healer. Explain that while you are always there to take care of your child, doctors are able to help out in more specific ways when people feel sick.
In addition, you should talk to your child about the doctor’s roles in everyone’s lives. They may be feeling some apprehension or even guilt about having to go to the doctor, so make it clear that seeing the doctor is normal (and even positive) part of life. Make sure they understand that everybody gets sick and doctors are there to help people feel better.
Discuss What Will Happen at the Visit
You should also talk to your child about what to expect at the doctor’s office. You will likely need to explain different exams as they happen, so be prepared to talk about expectations multiple times.
When it comes to physical checkups, discuss each step of the routine with your child. Make sure he or she is prepared to see the nurse and the doctor and go through the normal stages of the exam. Your shoulder covers each part of the vital signs check and the physical examination. Sometimes, it can help to practice with a stuffed animal. Your child may be far less apprehensive about seeing the doctor if you have practiced with toys before.
In addition, be sure to discuss the special nature of doctor’s visits. Explain that while your child’s body is still private, doctors sometimes need to examine each part of the body to make sure a person is completely healthy. Emphasize that this is a unique situation and that you will be in the room with them should they get scared about any part of it.
For special doctor’s visits, talk through the specifics of the process. You will likely need to make special preparations if the child is scheduled to receive shots or will need to have blood drawn. A little reward can do wonders to build up the courage.
What to Prepare
When your child heads to the doctor, you will need to be his or her advocate. Be sure to prepare for your child’s visit just as you might for your own. Even if your kid isn’t able to communicate certain questions, you should think about anything that might be helpful to know.
You will also need to be prepared in terms of knowing your child’s medical history. Smartphone apps like Family Medical Manager can make that an easy part of the process. Be sure you bring information on your child’s past illnesses, allergies, current medications, and insurance information. Have this information readily available so that the initial waiting period isn’t too long.
It can help to make a list of your thoughts and questions before you go into the office. That way, you can make sure you ask the doctor all of your important questions before the end of the appointment, and you will be able to communicate better with your child afterward.