Here are some helpful tips thanks to Mountainland Pediatrics:
- Talk about doctor visits in a positive way. Read fun books to your child about doctor visits prior to your appointment.
- If your child asks if the shot or procedure will hurt, don't fib about it; get down at your child's eye-level and explain that the shot may hurt a little for a few seconds.
- Allow your child some control regarding the appointment. Let them choose which toy they want to bring with them, and how they want to sit for the shot.
- Distraction is helpful during the shot or procedure, such as
- Playing "I spy" and helping your child find items in the room.
- Blowing bubbles during the shot (this also helps the child to regulate breathing and remain calm).
- Tell your child to blow out the pain like a candle or have the child squeeze your hand as hard as the pain is of the shot.
- Plan a special reward for after the shots (i.e. going to get ice cream, going to the park, visiting a grandparent/relative, etc.).
- Allow the child to calm down before leaving the doctor's office so that they can leave on a positive note and not associate the doctor's office with negative things or pain.
- Children sense parents' anxiety. Make sure you're able to stay calm during the procedures.
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A few additional tips from Families First:
- Remind your child of other doctor’s trips or events that are similar they had success with in the past.
- Empathize with your child. You can say something like, “I don’t like going to the doctor either, but we have to go so we can stay healthy and grow up strong”.
- Similar to Moutainland’s last tip, consider if siblings are going to cause an increase in anxiety. It may be that your children do better when together. Take time to consider if this is the case or if it may be better to have siblings go to appointments at different times or to have them go back to the office one at a time.
- Brag to others (grandparents, older siblings, parent that didn’t attend, friends, etc.) in front of your child about how brave they were at the doctor’s office.
- Do not discipline or make negative comments about crying or other emotional responses. Instead, validate their feelings by reflect the child’s emotions back to them. For example, “You were really afraid, but you got through it.” or “That must have hurt, but you were able to settle yourself down quickly.”
For more suggestions on ways to ease your child’s anxiety around doctor visits or other situation, additional ways to support your family and for other great parenting tips call the Family Support Line at 1-800-CHILDREN (800-244-5373) OR 1-866-Las-Familias (866-527-3264) for Spanish speakers. You can also e-mail stacy@FamiliesFirstColorado.org with questions or concerns. Check us out on Facebook at Families First Colorado. The Family Support Line offers parenting tips, resources and information only and does not serve as legal or mental health advice. We believe you are the paramount person to decide what is best for your family. Comments provided by non-Families First individuals are not the opinion of Families First.