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3 Tips to Avoid Doctor’s Visit Scaries

Published on Aug. 23, 2022

Visiting your healthcare provider can be intimidating for anyone — but for kids, especially little ones, a visit to the doctor’s office can feel scary. A lot of fears or concerns about visiting your healthcare provider stem from not knowing what to expect.

Check out these tips to help your child feel more comfortable and confident at their next visit. 

Set Expectations

Many times, children are afraid at their well-child or sick visit because they aren’t sure what to expect out of the experience.

Start by explaining to your child who they’ll see at the visit and why they’re visiting. Explain that their healthcare provider’s job is important because it helps children who are well stay healthy and grow strong. And the provider also helps kids who are sick or injured feel better. This frames the visit in a positive light. 

“For preschool and elementary-aged children attending a well-child visit, let them know that the doctor needs to look at their whole body and that this helps keep them healthy,” says Jennifer Kuiper, MD, Pediatrician at Frankfort Medical Group. “Children can always bring a favorite stuffed animal along with them to also get a checkup!”

Ask Questions and Plan Ahead

While you may do a great job explaining what may happen at the visit, your child may still have questions or feel afraid. Ask them if anything in particular is scaring them about the visit.

From there, explain to them that you understand and work on a plan together so that they feel comfortable and supported. Part of this plan might include teaching your child about taking slow, deep breaths when they feel nervous. If you’ve practiced this ahead of time, you can remind them about the breathing exercise.

Consider Your Word Choice

Avoid scary words that might make the visit more intimidating to children. For example, if your child needs to get an vaccine, call it a “poke” instead of a shot. Also, reframe any discomfort from the vaccine as a pinch or pressure, rather than pain. 

Setup for Success

With these tips, we hope your child’s next provider visit is full of smiles. Don’t forget to work with your child’s healthcare provider to make sure they’re up to date on well-child visits and important immunizations.

Well-child visits help make sure your child is reaching critical milestones, including physical, emotional, and social development.

Schedule a Well-Child Checkup

If your child is due for a checkup – even if your well-child visit schedule has gotten off track – there’s no better time than now to schedule this essential visit. If you don’t have a pediatrician or family health provider, our team is here to help you find a qualified pediatrician, close to home.

Well Child Visits    Find a Pediatrician

Questions? Ask a Nurse! 

Have questions about your child’s health or their immunization schedule? A Munson Healthcare nurse is standing by and ready to help. Call Ask-A-Nurse any time to speak with a registered nurse. This service is FREE and no insurance is required.

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