Making Doctor Appointments Easier for Kids
I don’t mean to brag, but I have been through my fair share of doctors appointments with my kiddos. Between the surgeries my son has endured and the fact that my husband comes and goes with his military deployments leaving me to deal with everything on my own, I know quite a bit about the best way to make the appointment easier for the kids. After all, an appointment with the doctor can be incredibly stressful for kids, what with all the people poking and prodding you and asking a bunch of questions.
In an ideal situation, I would stress the importance of only taking one child at a time to the doctor, but since my situation is usually far from ideal I”m writing this with respect to taking a younger child to the doctor with an older sibling in tow.
Always tell the truth. If my kids are going to get shots, I tell them so and I also admit that it’s going to hurt. I also tell them that it’s important for them to get the shots and then I promise them a lollipop or ice cream afterwards. Yes, I bribe my kids, but shots hurt, right? When possible, like when flu shot time rolls around, I let them watch me get my shot first and then let them follow suit.
Let kiddos answer questions. This won’t work for babies, but toddlers can certainly answer some of the doctor’s questions. For example, if the doctor asks me, “Which of his ears hurt?” instead of answering his question I’ll divert it to my son and say, “Tell the doctor which ear hurts.” This makes him feel a little more in control of the situation.
Bring distractions. We’ll bring toys and snacks with us, and I always have a pen with me so the kids can scribble on the sheet paper the medical staff pulls over bed the kids sit on for their exams. When all else fails, I tell them stories or we sing silly songs while waiting for the doctor. I truly think that the worst thing you can do in this situation is to insist your child sits quietly while waiting for the doctor.
Become a favorite. I appreciate what our doctor does, so we’ve brought cookies before and really made an attempt to get to know the staff. I think this has helped a lot with getting us in and out quickly, and that’s incredibly helpful when you’re lugging a couple of ill kids around.
Medical appointments are a necessary evil of parenthood. Okay, maybe not evil, but not much fun nonetheless. With a little bit of prep and a lot of patience you can make these appointments much less daunting.