Preparing Your Child for Their Pediatrician Appointment
A child's pediatrician appointment goes smoother for all with a little preparation beforehand.
From the moment you first hear the happy news that you will have a child, you begin to prepare. You think about the tiniest details for the baby's room, to more "complicated" issues like choosing a name or a guardian or... From the first moment you learn you are "expecting" you begin taking an active role in your child's life.
During the nine months leading up to the arrival of your child, before you enter into the wonderful world of sleep deprivation, you should also begin to prepare for your child's pediatrician appointments, start reading about the controversy surrounding vaccinating your child and become familiar with milestones.
Even if you missed the opportunity to prepare for your child's appointments during those nine months and, even if you are running low on sleep, you can still be prepared! It is never too late (or too early) to prepare!!!
Take a deep breath and relax!
Remember that, whether an infant, toddler or teen, your child picks up many cues and learns behavior from you. If you are anxious or upset, your child can sense this and may also become anxious and upset. The calmer and more relaxed you are, the calmer they will be.
This is one of the many reasons and side benefits of being prepared for your child's pediatrician appointment. You have at least two to four weeks between appointments to prepare for your baby's appointment. You have at least a year to prepare for (your child's) the pediatrician appointment for routine check-up. This should give you plenty of time to write down questions and have things set aside ready to go on the big day. If you know what to expect from the visit and you have explained to your child what they can expect from the visit, you will both be more relaxed.
No matter what the circumstances are, when you are unprepared, you run around at the last minute forgetting things, and you become agitated. When it comes to your child's medical appointment, you may even get upset with your child as he/she doodles with his/her toys or plays in some wonderfully gooey mud! If you were caught unprepared, by the time you finally arrive at the pediatrician's office, you and your child are emotionally spent. You can't focus on what the doctor is saying and you can't remember the questions you wanted to ask. The whole experience will be remembered as being overly traumatic. The imprint it will leave is the thought that all future pediatrician appointments will be just as horrible.
Here are some things to consider when scheduling an appointment:
Try to schedule routine check-ups on Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Thursdays. Typically, Mondays and Fridays are heavy days. Every child who became sick over the weekend will need to be seen on Monday, and, every parent who wants to avoid having a sick child over the weekend will have their child seen on Fridays.
If you have an infant, try to schedule your pediatrician appointments in the morning or right after lunch. Your wait time will be shorter. If you have an older child, try to be compassionate towards the poor, sleep-deprived new parents by scheduling your child's appointment after 10am or after 1pm. An older child can be easily entertained and can handle longer wait times than an infant.
When scheduling an older child for their annual check-up, consider making the appointment during the summer. Offices tend to be a bit quieter during the summer months as opposed to the fall/winter months when many children are seen for colds or the flu.
If you need to schedule a routine check-up or physical for your child, check with the office to see if they offer a "well baby/child" time or day. Some offices will set aside time specifically for routine physicals or check-ups.
Have your baby dressed appropriately. Infants will have to be weighed and measured. Although it is tempting to dress them up in one of the many cute outfits you received at your baby shower, try to resist this temptation!!! When you are loaded down like a pack mule and tired, it is a lot of work to dress and undress a wiggling baby at least 3 times in the span of 15 minutes. Think functional and easy!
Help your older child pack a few things that can entertain them while they wait for their pediatrician appointment. If you need a copy of your child's vaccination records or prescription refills, contact the office prior to your child's appointment.