Taking Your Preschooler to Doctor Visits
Preschoolers may have preconceived notions in visiting the doctor’s clinic. Understanding the reasons behind their fear or apathy and preparing them for regular medical check-ups will make doctor trips less hassled for both of you.
Parents usually face some kind of resistance from their preschoolers when taking them for a visit to the doctor. This is because at this age, children start understating the implications of meeting a doctor and tend to fear what may happen next. Every child has his own way of reacting to medical visits and parents need to understand the reason behind a child’s reluctance to visit the doctor. It’s also important to explain the importance of visiting a doctor while also tackling fears, many of which may be founded in experience and fact.
Here are some typical reasons which contribute to a child’s fear of visits to a clinic:
- Fear of needle pricks. This is the most common reason, even for some adults to avoid a visit to the doctor. The pain inflicted by the needle prick is unbearable for your little ones and they dread going through it over and over again.
- Fear of possible tests or procedures that are carried out at the clinic – they might be poked or hurt by some clinical instruments.
- Discomfort with the doctor’s style or way of speaking; some doctors may come across as brusque or unfriendly.
- Fear of separation from their parents when the doctor takes the child to a separate enclosure for a check up.
- Sometimes children feel their illness can be cured at home by their parents and do not like any interference from an unknown person.
- Lastly, they hate the taste of medicines which a doctor may precribe; many medicines are given an unpleasant taste to avoid children overdosing.
It’s helpful to determine the actual reason for apathy to help tackle it better.
Tips to Encourage your Preschoolers to Visit the Doctor
- Tell your child beforehand what to expect at the doctor’s place in a lighter or funny tone. However, if your child has an extreme case of doctor phobia, this may not be a good thing to do.
- Explain the process that will be followed there; encourage questions and get him to ask the doctor something himself.
- Carry toys, books, a music player or games to engage your child during the wait period to distract him.
- In case of hearing or vision tests, ask the doctor if there is any home version which can be done before the visit to save time.
- Never scold your child if he cries after a shot – this is a good time to reward him with a treat or praise him for good behavior.
- Allow the doctor to develop an amicable relationship with your child. Choose a doctor who is friendly and good with children. The better the relation between the two, the less painful the visit to the doctor.
Children will gradually outgrow their fear of visiting a doctor. Till then, be patient and understanding when dealing with fear, which can be a very real thing for a child. Take heed of your little one’s anxiety, and look for a doctor that he’s comfortable with. It’ll save you a lot of stress.