Roughly half of kids ages 2-5 are scared of going to the doctor. It’s no surprise, really.
From fear of the unknown to past traumatic experiences like painful shots, there’s a lot to contend with in a child’s mind when it comes to a doctor’s appointment. That doesn’t mean you or your child have to dread a trip to the doctor, though.
We’re here to help. As pediatric care specialists, we have two goals. First, we want to make sure your child gets the medical attention and treatment they need. Second, we want to help them feel comfortable when they visit our team at SmartClinic Urgent Care in West Covina and Santa Clarita, California.
With that second goal in mind, we’re presenting these tips to help you prepare your child for a doctor’s visit.
Get kids familiar with what to expect
Fear of the unknown often plays a large role in children’s worry about a doctor’s appointment. Talking with them about what to expect and exposing them to play scenarios and media about health care can go a long way here.
Start by telling them what will happen when they go to the doctor. Explain that you check in and sit in the waiting room until the doctor’s ready. Then you’ll go with them to a room to talk with the doctor. Let them know that the doctor can explain everything they’re doing and answer any questions your child might have.
Playing doctor at home gives kids a chance to rehearse the scenario, helping them feel more comfortable when the appointment comes.
Many kids also benefit from reading books about going to the doctor or watching shows in which characters they know get medical care. You could show them videos such as “Elmo Visits the Doctor” or “It’s Time for Daniel’s Shot” with Daniel Tiger.
Ask your child what worries them
A conversation with your child can go a long way in preparing them for a doctor’s visit when they’re afraid. Ask them to tell you what, specifically, scares them about going to the doctor.
For example, a lot of children feel scared at the doctor’s office because they worry they might get separated from their parent. At SmartClinic Urgent Care, we know it’s important to protect children from a situation where they might feel isolated or alone, so we never split you up. You can tell your child that you’ll be there with them the entire time.
Or they might be worried that a shot will hurt. You can work specifically on this fear by telling them it will be over before they count to 10 or by using a reward system so they have something to look forward to afterward.
Our caring team is here to partner with you to help your child feel as comfortable as possible. At the appointment, don’t hesitate to tell us about anything specific we can do to help them overcome their fears.
Call SmartClinic Urgent Care at 661-430-9040, book a visit online, or simply walk into either of our clinics today.