Things to Consider at the Doctor Office

You will soon be at the doctor office. The big day has finally arrived. Playing doctor or nurse You have prepared your child for their appointment by using play therapy to demonstrate how the doctor will examine them. You have written down your questions, helped them pack a few things for them to play with while they wait, and you both talked about the purpose of the visit.

Here are a few things to consider at the doctor office:

  • Even with all this preparation, your child may still misbehave a bit. If other children are anxious or upset, your child may become concerned and misbehave. Be patient with your child. Try to distract them by asking them about their toy, reading them a story or talking to them about their day.
  • Allow your child to answer the doctor's questions. This will help them build their confidence and trust with their doctor. Often times, when asked, your child will give the doctor more information than they gave you!

    Interject information only when necessary. Allow your child to ask questions and take notes. Don't forget to ask your questions as well and write down those answers!!!!!

  • If the doctor prescribes a medication or treatment, ask your child at the time of the appointment if they understand the doctor's orders. Let them know this will help them to feel better and is not a punishment.
  • While you want to praise your child for their good behavior, be careful that you don't overdo it! Try not to set up routines that you are not willing (or financially able) to maintain at the doctor office for many years to come!

    I know how hard it is to be a parent. You can feel guilty when your child has to receive a shot or undergo a painful procedure. Before you know it the words "we will go to the toy store if you are good" fly out of your mouth. From that point forward, every time you go to the doctor office, your child will expect this reward.

    If you really feel you must "reward" your child, you may want to choose a "reward" you will be able to sustain for years to come; for example, allowing them to chose what they will have for dinner is a reward that is a bit easier to support.

  • Once you leave the office, ask your child what they thought of the experience. Did they feel comfortable with the doctor? Do they have any questions about what the doctor did or discussed? Did they feel prepared for the visit or did anything come as a surprise to them? Ask them if they have ideas on how to prepare for the next visit. Support their feelings. Be in tune to any comments that might reflect your child did not feel comfortable with their doctor. Again, if your child does not feel safe or supported by their doctor, you may need to consider changing physicians.

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