Did you know that 93 percent of all children in the USA had contact with a health professional in 2018?
Whether for a broken bone, a vaccination, or simply a checkup, going to the doctor is a part of life for most children.
If you are a parent, you probably know that most children are terrified of going to the doctor. This could be because they have experienced a painful procedure in the past, or their imaginations run wild at the thought of what could happen there!
What can you as a parent do to alleviate childhood anxiety? Why not take a minute to read our in-depth article to find out more.
- Offer a Reward
Offering your child a reward associate pleasure not pain with their visit to the doctor. This can be especially effective if your child has to make repeated visits to the doctor. Rather than a visit to a scary place, they see it as the necessary evil that will earn them chocolate ice cream afterward.
You can even associate the reward with the type of treatment. Eye care for kids can be rewarded with chocolate ice-cream. A visit to the doctor for a shot could be a toy or video game. The options are endless.
- Don’t Make Jokes
Fear is irrational and often not based on reality. It could be very easy to try to distract the child or change their perception by making jokes. However, this is not usually a good strategy.
Although a parent’s intention may be to ease a child’s fear, exaggerating, or making jokes could increase the dimensions of the child’s fears. Although they are irrational, joking about fears can cause the fears to last longer, even into adulthood as phobias. Avoid this by biting your tongue and avoiding jokes in front of your child.
- Preparation is Key
Spending time with your child and preparing them about their visit to the doctor in terms that the can understand can go a long way to alleviating fears.
Often a child is afraid not of the treatment or of the doctors, but of the unknown. Avoid this by communicating well with your child and telling them the purpose of the visit to the extent possible.
- Don’t Deceive Your Child
This could seem to be the easiest solution for many parents. A parent may choose to assure the child that there will be no shots, no blood will be taken, no scary machines, or tests. Yet when the child arrives and sees the needles and other medical implements their trust in their parents can vanish.
Children may not love needles. However, explaining in simple terms the need for shots and immunization as protective measures may ease their fears. In any case, even if they are still a little afraid, they will appreciate that their parent did not deceive them before the visit.
- Distract Your Child
We live in a world of distractions. Now is the time to employ it for your own purposes. Allow your child to engrossed in a video game in the waiting room, or read a book whilst you are talking to doctors.
How to Cope with Childhood Anxiety and Much More
Going to the doctor, dentist or therapist is often difficult for children, especially those who have faced major treatment in the past. However, applying these principles can help those with childhood anxiety to get the medical help that they need with the minimum trauma.
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