When you think about it, taking the kids to a medical appointment is a horrible experience all round. Wrestling them out the door, listening to them cry and/or mope in the car, trying to convince them it’s all going to be OK and then resorting to blackmail to get them through the door - it’s rough!
But seeing as you’d like your kids to live long and happy lives, and you’d be doing an even more terrible job as a parent if you didn't take them to see the doctor, this is an ordeal you have to go through. And you know what they say: nothing easy is worth doing! But to lessen the load just a little, here are some ideas that might just help with your child’s medical phobia.
Buy Some More Toys
Good news for the kids! Bad news for your wallet. But yes, buying toys themed around going to see the doctor or the dentist, and even the school nurse, can really help a kid to overcome their fear. Turns out letting them wear the white coat for a little while can really change their mind about the experience.
Seriously though, letting the kids use colourful plastic versions of the tools a medical professional would have on a tray can normalise the whole experience. And if a kid knows what to expect, they’re not going to be crying over the fear of the unknown. Leave that to us adults, little one!
Visit a Family Focused Medical Centre
Yes, there are some family friendly doctors and dentists out there, even if you might find that hard to believe. Places like Supersmile Orthodontist are starting up all over the place, because apparently hating the waiting room and shaking as you get in the dentist’s chair is a universal feeling. Who would have thought?
Medical professionals are human too, which means they get it. Explain to them what your child is feeling and how they tend to behave and they’ll be able to accommodate. And now you just need to find such a place near you; do some research - you might as well, you’re already on the laptop or wasting time on your phone.
Explain What’s Going to Happen (over and over again if you have to)
Kids can need a lot of reassurance when they know a doctor’s appointment is coming up. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, even if they are out of bed for the tenth time asking you if things are going to be alright.
You just need to keep on telling them that a medical appointment is normal, it doesn’t mean you’re sick, and everyone needs to go to them. Repeat the words, keep them (and yourself) calm, and let them know what to expect. Recount a few non-horrific memories and they’ll see there’s nothing much to worry about.
Hating the doctor is nothing new, especially for kids. But getting them used to it takes time; be patient, it’ll happen!