Dealing with a screaming child at the doctors isn’t just stressful for you and the medical professionals but can be very upsetting for the child themselves! Indeed, the calmer your visit, the more likely your child is to be able to cope with the next one positively. With that in mind, keep reading to find out how to make your child’s next visit to the doctors a lot easier for everyone involved.
Prepare your child before they go
First of all, it can help a great deal to let your little one know they are going to the doctor’s ahead of time. This gives them space to think about it and ask any questions. It’s best to answer these honestly as well, although downplaying any pain like the prick of the needle when blood is drawn is best. Otherwise, you could end up spooking your child and make the whole experience harder for them.
Role play the appointment beforehand
Another smart way of making your child’s doctor’s appointment go more smoothly is to encourage them to explore the experience through play beforehand. Indeed, where possible, getting them to be the doctor and you the patient so you can model good behaviour can be very useful. After all, if they have gone through the experience beforehand all that expectation and anxiety will be much less.
Put them in control
Another way you can ensure your child’s doctor’s appointment goes easily is to use the number scale to help them stay in control of the experience. The number scale is a way of rating pain, and for kids that are old enough, you can agree on a number where you will ask the dr to stop and give your child a break. This sense of being in control of their own experience can once again help alleviate a great deal of anxiety.
Use pain relief to minimise discomfort
If you know that there is an unpleasant experience ahead such as a pink prick of a blood test or vaccination, it can be helpful to use a product like this lidocaine patch beforehand. Indeed, by using this you can minimise any negative experience, something that means the appointment will be calmer for all involved.
Discuss their feelings with them
While downplaying any pain or discomfort beforehand is a good idea, also talking about your child’s feelings with them is essential if you want the appointment to go smoothly. What is vital here is that they are allowed to be honest and have those feelings validated by you.
For example, your child may say that they are scared, and don’t want to go. This is OK, and all you need to respond with is that you understand why they are scared and that it’s all right to carry on and do the activity even with these feelings because it’s important. You can also reassure them that you will be there and that you have been to lots of similar appointments and have come out safe and happy.