Tips to Help Prepare Your Child for a Doctor’s Visit

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A trip to the pediatrician can often be frightening for a small child. We, as adults, can easily forget how intimidating a medical office can be. While some anxiety about visiting the doctor is normal, there are a lot of things that parent can do at home to help prepare their child for a trip to the doctor's office.

First, I recommend that parents talk with their child about what to expect during the trip to the pediatrician's office. It is important for a parent to be honest about what the visit will entail. If the trip to the pediatrician is going to include shots, parents should discuss this ahead of time with their child. Talking about vaccines before the visit can actually help lessen the anxiety associated with shots.

Reading a book about visiting the doctor can help set expectations for a child about what to expect during a trip to the pediatrician. Seeing a favorite character go to the doctor helps children understand that everyone visits the pediatrician in order to stay healthy.

I also recommend that a parent purchase a toy doctor's kit. They can then role play with their child and their child can practice the physical exam on either their parent or a stuffed animal. This pretend play goes a long way in helping a child understand there is nothing to fear from the physical exam portion of the visit.

These tips will help prepare your child for their next trip to the pediatrician, as well as lessen their anxiety and help build a lasting relationship between your child and their pediatrician.