How to Help Your Child Overcome His Fear of Doctors

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There are medicines for headache and fever that you can use for your child in case he is not feeling well. However, as seen in commercials, if symptoms persist then it is time to consult a doctor. At the mention of the word ‘doctor’, did your child begin to show signs of discomfort and he or she looks scared? This is not a surprise, though, because many kids don’t like it if they are being handled by someone unfamiliar. It is important to take note that no child loves going to the doctor and that fear often starts during their toddler stage. As the parent, you should do something to calm your child and keep him or her feeling that way all throughout his or her checkup. Here are some tips on how you can prevent the pediatrician phobia from haunting your kid:

Give a proper explanation

Kids are scared of going to the doctor because they don’t understand what is going on, what will be done to them, and why. Explaining before the appointment will help ease the child’s dread. Specific details can help make the child comprehend the situation like the tongue depressor can feel a little bit rough and the stethoscope, the instrument that the doctor uses to listen to heartbeat, can feel cold to the skin. 

Never leave your child alone

Children often lean onto their parents especially when they are in a foreign environment. If the parent is calm and comfortable inside the clinic, then the kids may reflect on this composure and feel that everything will be alright. Don’t be nervous though; once you show signs that you are uneasy, then the child will interpret that something wrong is going on.

Read books and encourage role play

Help your child know what to expect when going to the pediatrician. Buy a picture book about first trips to the doctor or get your child a toy medical kit and demonstrate how to use the stethoscope and take the temperature. Then let your child tend to his or her toys and in to get comfortable with the tools a doctor uses. Practicing at home will make a child more at ease for the next visit.

Don’t lie!!

Avoid saying things like ‘Don’t be afraid’ or ‘The shot won’t hurt’. Instead, explain that even though the shot will hurt it is important for a child's overall health. Reassure him or her that you will be by his or her side all throughout the session and that you two will get through it together. A side-note: kids are afraid of doctors largely due to shots, so do not promise your child that he will never get vaccinated. Instead, explain that he won’t need them every visit. If still anxious, then bring your child's favorite toy or stuffed animal to help him or her calm down and make the checkup a breeze.

Offer rewards

After the checkup, praise your child at how brave he was for going through the whole ordeal. Shower your baby with hugs and kisses so he’ll know he did a great job. Bring comfort food, like a packet of sweets or a favorite drink for example. You can also take him or her to a playground or watch a movie. Be careful not to make the treat a condition for good behavior because if your child couldn’t control his or her agitation, then he or she will feel bad for losing the treat.

Don’t feel terrible if your child is not a model patient. More importantly, never let your child feel guilty for being anxious. With careful guidance and enough patience, your kid will soon find trips to the pediatrician wonderful instead of frightening.

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