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How To Help A Nervous Child Feel More Comfortable At A Pediatrician Appointment

by Stephen Silva

Most adults do not particularly enjoy seeing the doctor, but they understand that it is something they have to do for good health. Kids, however, have not always reached that level of understanding. It is common for them to feel nervous and uneasy about seeing the pediatrician, and they often need some help dealing with these emotions. So how can you help your child feel more comfortable at their pediatric visit?

Talk about what will happen beforehand.

Before taking your child to the pediatrician, talk about the appointment and what is going to happen. Explain that the doctor will listen to their heart and lungs, feel their tummy, and tap on their knees to test their reflexes. Even if your child has been through these tests at the pediatrician's office before, they may not fully remember them, and talking about the visit will help normalize it. When speaking about these things, keep your tone calm and soothing. Act like it's no big deal, and your child will start to think of it that way.

Let your child play "doctor" with you.

While it can be helpful to practice listening to your child's heart or tapping on their knees at home, letting them do these things to you can be even more helpful. If your child has used a stethoscope or a reflex tester before, they won't be alarmed when the doctor brings out these tools, and they'll have a better understanding, from the doctor's perspective, of what is being done.

Hold your child.

When you do arrive at the doctor's office, hold your child for as long as possible. Have them sit on your lap in the exam room until it becomes necessary for them to go elsewhere. Your physical touch can be a real source of comfort when they start to feel a little nervous about being in the doctor's office.

Schedule the appointment based on your child's mood patterns.

Does your child tend to be calmer and more focused in the mornings or evenings? Maybe they're always in the best mood after lunch. Schedule the doctor's appointment at a time when you feel your child is more likely to be cool and collected, and they'll have a better experience.

If you follow the tips above, you can help your nervous child feel more comfortable when they have to see a pediatrician. Each subsequent appointment should get easier and easier. For more information about seeing a pediatric physician, contact a local clinic.