If you're like most parents, you likely have spent the first few years of your child's development watching them like a hawk to ensure that they are growing up in good health. This has likely included making sure they attend multiple visits to the family doctor. But if your baby is now a toddler and not as easy to control, the idea of getting poked and prodded by a stranger could be upsetting to them and could create a difficult situation for you. Here are a few tips you can try to help ensure that your next visit to the family doctor goes off without a hitch.
Little kids like playing make believe, right? This is the perfect opportunity for you to introduce the concept of a doctor to your child ahead of the visit. Play around with a spoon or another non-sharp utensil and pretend you are checking your child's reflexes. When you're done "inspecting" your child, tell them they can now play doctor and inspect you. If your child is already familiar with the idea of a "check-up", the real thing hopefully won't be that traumatizing.
Time the Appointment Correctly
You know your child better than anyone, and that includes what time of day he or she is most likely to be cranky and when he or she is in a good mood. You will of course have to work around the doctor's schedule as well, but try not to schedule the appointment when your kid would normally be hungry or lying down for a nap. You don't want any other distractions getting in the way of your visit to the doctor.
Pay Attention to What You Are Dressing Them In
Most younger kids don't like dealing with complicated outfits with multiple layers. If you have a child who is constantly fussing about what you are making him or her wear, be aware of this when it's time to go to the doctor. Dress your child in an outfit that is easy to take off and put back on with minimal effort. You don't want the kid throwing a fit when the doctor needs to get their shirt off for the exam. If you have to dress them in layers because it is cold outside, try to take off the outer layers yourself in the waiting room before the doctor sees you.
Your child's first visit to the family doctor doesn't have to be a traumatic experience. Set expectations for your child by "playing doctor" in advance. Be sure to schedule the appointment at a time when your kid is normally in a good mood and don't overdo it with the apparel, and you should be in good shape. Contact your family doctor or a healthcare provider such as Rural Health Services Consortium Inc. if you want more advice for your toddler's first visit.