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Saratoga Pediatrician Visit

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Tips For You and Your Child

In need of some Saratoga pediatrician visit tips before the next 'dreaded' doctor's visit with your child? Follow these helpful tips to make your next visit to the pediatrician a more pleasant experience.

child with doctors
  • Stay Calm. Babies and young toddlers can instantly react to your emotion. If you tense up they will too. Concentrate on keeping your voice calm and relaxing your muscles and your heart rate, and this will help calm your child as well. Bring a favorite toy or blanket to soothe them and try to return to your normal routine as soon as possible after the doctor's visit.
  • Understand Your Child's Fears. Most toddlers and young children have a great fear of the unknown and an even greater fear of parental separation. Reassure your child that you will be close by him or her while you are visiting the doctor together. The "unknown" can be a new place, unfamiliar faces or even words that they don't recognize. Your child may not remember the doctor's face or the nurses' faces, even if he or she has visited them multiple times before. Your child may also not recognize words like "checkup" or "exam," and they can sound like very scary procedures to a child.
  • Provide Toys Or Treats. A waiting room filled with toys and crying children can be a nerve wracking experience for a parent and a confusing experience for the child. The parent is afraid of germs and the child doesn't understand why this wonderful play land that other kids might be enjoying is off limits to them! If your pediatrician offers different waiting areas for well visits and sick visits, this helps, but either way, it's best to plan ahead how you will handle this. Some parents bring a special toy or treat that is enjoyed only at the doctor's office. Others let the child pick a toy to play with and wipe it down with disinfectant wipes they've toted along, and others never worry about germs at all. Know yourself and have a plan that keeps you and your child calm, as the waiting room is the first hurdle to enjoying a positive doctor's visit.
  • Explain The Procedures. If your son or daughter is just starting in preschool or school, he or she will often be fascinated with learning. As the nurse is weighing your child, explain what the scale does why it's important to track your child's height and weight. Once you are in the doctor's office, point out various items and talk about how those items are used. Tell your child that doctor's go to school for a very long time to learn just what to do to help people feel better and stay healthy.
  • Make Friends With The Doctor. Have the doctor tell your child a little bit about himself or herself. You can even work out a list of questions ahead of time with your child of things he or she might want to ask the doctor. For example, "Do you have any kids? What kinds of sports do you like to play? What is your favorite color?" Finding out his or her answers will make the doctor seem less like a stranger and more like a friend.
  • "Play Doctor." Ask the doctor to let your child listen to his or her heartbeat through the stethoscope or hold the otoscope. Simple pleasures like these can really improve your child's outlook on doctor visits.
  • Shots Can Be Painful. There's no getting around that. Don't try to calm your child's fears by saying it won't hurt. The truth is that it does hurt - but not for very long. Words of encouragement such as, "It will only hurt for a little bit, and then you'll be all done." Or "I know you can do this - remember when you skinned your knee and hardly cried at all?" will help your child calm down and know what to expect. Also be sure to focus on the benefits of the shot and why it's important to get one.
  • Encourage Bravery. Getting blood drawn for tests and other procedures can also be a difficult experience for your child to go through. One great way to deal with this is to count aloud with your child how long it takes for the technician to draw his or her blood-from start to finish. After it's all over, develop a special motto with your child, like, "We won't let 30 seconds ruin our day!" Use this motto on subsequent visits to help put the procedure into perspective and to encourage bravery and resilience in your child.
child playing with stethoscope

Children - even older children - will look to you for clues on how they should react. If you get stressed about doctor visits, chances are your child will too. By developing a plan and thinking ahead to different situations that may occur and how you will handle each aspect of the visit, your child's experience at the doctor's will be more comfortable for him or her…and for you!