This post is a collaboration and contributed by Sandra Jones.
We all love our kids and do everything to keep them healthy and happy. However, kids don’t think of this as a favor when you’re hauling them along to a doctor’s office. As children, it’s very likely you were also afraid of having to go to the doctor or dentist. Hospitals usually mean nothing good’s going on, and as a child, you don’t have the ability to differentiate from that. Following are 3 ways which can help combat the fear or anxiety that your child may have.
Talk Through Their Fears
First of all, reassure your child you’re always there for them, and that you’ll get through the trip together. Don’t dismiss their crying if they do so, and remind them that you know it might hurt but it’ll be over quickly.
This is more productive than simply telling a child their fear is unfounded. Dismissing their fears, or making them feel their emotions are made up can mean a loss of trust between you and your child. They might feel like their emotions aren’t validated, and clam up instead. No parent wants that, so seek to comfort them constantly before and during doctor’s visits.
You can even act as a safe base for them by allowing them to sit on your lap. This allows you to become a safe retreat and means the doctor’s chair or bed they have to sit on is a little less evil with mom there with them. If you feel comfortable with the doctor, so will they! Kids pick up on a lot of your signals.
Also Related: 3 Ways for Your Family to Stay Healthy & Covered
Try a Family-Friendly Dentist’s Office
This is more for your benefit than your kid’s, as they’re unlikely to want to go to the dentist regardless of how much you claim it to be friendly. Dentists are one of the scariest looking people on earth when you’re lying on your back and staring up at a bunch of tools in your mouth. Anyone can understand that!
When choosing a dentist, consider one whose specialty is children’s/family dentistry, like Family Braces here in Canada. Specialists in family medical care are very friendly to kids, and always have an approachable look to them. If you’re worried about your child not being comfortable with their doctor or dentist, these fears of your own will be relieved when you realize the dentist has seen and done this all before.
Offer Your Child a Reward Afterwards
Giving a child something to look forward to usually means they’ll face up to their fears well. A trip to the playground, an ice cream, or anything like that works well. You could even offer to buy a new toy if bribery is necessary. Or perhaps, bringing along an already favorite toy/stuffed bear that they can hold onto will suffice.
Hugs and kisses when they’re out of the chair can also go a long way. If your child knows how proud you are of them, and how proud the rest of the family will be, a sense of accomplishment and bravery could be its own reward.
You know your child better than anyone, so try out whatever you think will work to help them face their fears better. At the end of the day, a healthy child is a happy child. Here’s to healthy children and families!