A stress-free visit to the pediatrician

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Whether it's due to illness or for a preventive medical check-up, a visit to the doctor can be a major event for your child. It can mean something different for every family depending on the child's age, personality and personal experience. In particular, young patients who have not seen a doctor all that often or sensitive and shy children tend to be hesitant. In order to gain the trust of the children, what helps the most is a sensitive approach from the doctor. To help the children feel more comfortablefor this new situation right from the get-go. Parents can help prepare them at home before,the visit to the pediatrician takes place. Together with mum and dad, the children can get ready for the upcoming doctor’s appointment through play, by acting out the role of a doctor themselves; therefore making it enjoyable for them and helping young patients become familiar with the upcoming situation.

Where does the feeling of insecurity at the pediatrician come from?

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Facing a new situation is an emotional challenge for children. As well as this, a child who is sick is in particular need of support. In this situation, he or she is more likely to seek protection from people they trust and naturally they react more sensitively. The younger the patient is, the more unfamiliar the situation becomes and the more they are often reluctant to see a doctor and be respectful with the doctor's equipment. The prospect of a vaccination or blood test, even if it is "only" a "little" poke, does not always make a vist to the pediatrician easy and sometimes even makes the parents feel anxious.

How can a trip to the doctor be made more relaxed for your child?

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The more familiar children are with a new situation, the less insecure they will feel and the more receptive they will be to treatment. And the best way to this is through play. Through different play situations, your child can become familiar with everything there is to discover in a medical practice and the instruments used to examine big and small patients.

Picture books on the subject of pediatricians show even the youngest ones what happens during an examination and what to expect at the pediatrician's office. As parents, you can role-play together as doctors and patients and in a familiar environment; show your child how easy and perhaps even fun an examination can be. A small bandage made out of a handkerchief or a pretty children's adhesive dressing on the upper arm as proof of a successful examination make the children feel proud and more confident about the upcoming visit to the doctor. With their own doctor's bag, the children can also become doctors themselves, familiarise themselves with instruments such as stethoscopes and otoscopes and practice on their cuddly toys, rag dolls or Little Friends figures how to listen to the heart, look into the ears or check for a fever.

Also age-appropriate children's doctor games (HABA 304648) can give the children an insight into the everyday life of a doctor's office and give them a proximity to instruments and examinations which they will experience themselves at the next visit to the pediatrician.

So as parents, how can you prepare for this?

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Children behave in an intuitive way. In other words, if you have confidence in the doctor, he or she will sense this and by going into the situation feeling relaxed, this will calm your child down. Preparing well will also help you as parents to deal with the upcoming appointment with the pediatrician more calmly. If possible, prepare what you need for your visit to the doctor the day before, remembering to include what will calm them down or distract them in moments of stress. This will provide you with peace of mind and the security of having thought of everything.

By keeping the insurance card, examination booklet and vaccination record handy in your pocket, you can save time when you register. If they are bored or restless in the waiting room, their favorite book, toy or cuddly toy can provide a bit of the familiar home environment and calm them down. To ensure that all contingencies are taken care of during the examination, have spare diapers and a simple change of clothes ready, bring your own blanket or cloth with you and if necessary, keep your child's favourite pacifier within easy reach.

Checklist:

For the doctor:

  • Insurance card
  • Examination book
  • Vaccination card

For the waiting room:

  • Favorite book
  • Favorite toy
  • Blanket or cuddly toy

For the exam:

  • Clothing that is easy to put on and take off
  • Blanket for laying under or keeping warm
  • Spare diaper
  • If necessary, a comforter to calm them

> Download HABA checklist (pdf)

4 tips for the visit to the pediatrician's office

Talk about it
The better your child understands what he or she can expect at the pediatrician's officet the more tangible the experience will be and the less uncertainty there will be.

Create trust through play
Children are best able to process their experiences and feelings through play. They can take on the role of the doctor themselves and practice in a relaxed environment for the next doctor's appointment with fun pediatrician games.

Take your children along with you to doctors' appointments.

Going with you to your own check-ups with your family doctor or dentist will give your child an insight into a doctor's office for adults and show how pleasant and perhaps even fun an examination can be.

Take good care of yourself
A visit to the pediatrician may be challenging for parents too. Take the necessary precautions to make the appointment as easy-going as possible and keep expectations low. You will be able to transmit your sense of relaxation to your child.