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Making Your Child's Visit to The Doctor Stress Free

If your child gets super anxious about going to the doctor's office, try these tips for calming their nerves when it comes time for their next appointment.

Heading to the doctor with a child can make even the most composed parent fret. Here are easy ways to turn a pressure-filled event into a positive experience.

Choose wisely

Selecting the right physician for your children is the first step. Ask your most trusted parent friends for a referral; find out exactly what they like about the medical practice. Research the pediatrician and determine if her bedside manner and practice methods are a good fit. If you also value holistic treatments, make sure the provider will consider natural treatment options. Also, factor in distance and parking. Most medical professionals welcome a consultation before your first appointment, which can alleviate the initial-visit jitters.

Preparation is key

Kids are perceptive. Even the smallest child can sense your stress – and will mirror it. Advance planning can help you to present a positive, peaceful demeanor. Whether it's a well-baby checkup or school physical, take time before the appointment to gather paperwork and assemble a medical folder that includes each family member's school forms, immunization records, copies of insurance cards, and basic medical histories including significant illnesses and dates of surgeries. Keeping this organized and easily accessible will make for a worry-free appointment.

If your child's been sick, log key details. A small notebook with dates of fevers, reactions to meds and other symptoms help the pediatrician make a diagnosis and treatment plan.

Prevention

Avoiding stressors you can predict is key to a hassle-free visit. Schedule it at the best time possible – when your child is well rested – and bring along a favorite blanket or small stuffed animal for comfort. Leave siblings at home; too often they become a distraction.

Head out early to factor in sudden bad weather or heavy traffic. Arriving a few minutes in advance gives you time to settle in and thoughtfully fill out forms.

Make it positive

Let your child know what to expect. With small kids, try books and play. Pick a colorful picture story about going to the pediatrician or buy an inexpensive toy doctor kit and show kids how to use the stethoscope and thermometer. It's a fun intro to appointments.

Give older kids a sense of responsibility by letting them fill out forms solo. After the trip, let them choose a spot for a quick bite. They'll love having some control of their day – and you'll have a little one-on-one time.

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