Back to School Trips to The Doctor: 5 Tips to Ease Your Child’s Anxiety

Along with clothing and supplies, back to school time means visits to the doctor for physicals and immunizations. For a young child, the doctor’s office can be a scary place, making it difficult for a youngster to understand why these visits are important. Often times, the experience may be stressful – for both kids and their parents.

If your child gets nervous about going to the doctor, Dr. Mayrene Hernandez of UnitedHealthcare (www.uhc.com) says don’t give up hope. She is available to discuss these tips to put a child’s anxiety at ease:

1. Prepare your child for what to expect. Talk about what may happen at their next check-up. But try to avoid making promises that may be broken during the visit, like whether they are getting a shot or not. You may consider reading books, watching shows or playing with a toy medical kit to help develop expectations about what happens at the doctor.  

2. Build patient-doctor trust. Try to see the same doctor so your child can get to know him or her over time. If kids are able to put a face to their doctor, it may make the experience less scary.

3. Ensure you’ll be together. Your child may be scared you’ll leave them alone with the doctor during an appointment. Explain that you’ll be there the whole visit.

4. Plan a rewarding experience. Incentivize your child with an ice cream cone or a trip to the park after the exam. Something positive to look forward to after the appointment may make them less anxious during the visit.

5. Be calm. Your child may sense your energy. If you are anxious, that may be mirrored.

Your kid may struggle to get over their fear of the doctor, but these tips may make the next visit easier. If you’re concerned with your child’s level of anxiety, talk with their pediatrician.    

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