Video:Preparing Your Toddler for a Doctor Visitwith Kathy Moore
Using creative role play, you can reduce anxiety related to first time doctor visits.See Transcript
Transcript:Preparing Your Toddler for a Doctor VisitHi, I am Kathy Moore for About.com Parenting. Going to the doctor can be an unsettling event for any child. This program is about preparing your toddler for a visit to the doctor.
What to ExpectMost parents are used to bringing their kids in to see the doctor starting with the first well baby checkup which usually happens about 6 weeks after birth. But around the time of your child's 18-month checkup he might start experiencing anxiety about his doctor visit.
Role PlayingAfter facing this problem with our first child, I set about to prepare my son by role playing pretend doctor visits and reading books about going to the doctor. I even found a child-sized stethoscope so we could look the part when pretending. My kids and I switch off playing the role of doctor or patient.
Mimic Doctor VisitsWe start our make-believe doctor visit by pretending to call on the phone and make an appointment. Then we pretend to be at the doctor's office. We role-play checking the patient's height and weight and then use a small flashlight to look in the ears and mouth. We practice opening up and saying Ahh too. Using our child stethoscope we listen for a heartbeat and breath sounds. Then we will usually check for reflexes by tapping on a knee.
Sometimes I will reward my pretend patient with a sticker or a treat. The whole idea is to try to make your kids familiar with the routine of a doctor's office visit so they will be more at ease when it is time for the real thing.
While I am not sure my kids actually look forward to going to the doctor's office I have noticed that since we have started this role-playing exercise, they are more comfortable and familiar with the process. And it has made our doctor visits less stressful which is good for the whole family.
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