Can't handle another meltdown at the doctor's office? Turn your child's next appointment into a positive experience with these simple tips:
- Bring a distraction. Sitting still and waiting is sometimes the hardest part. Bring age-appropriate books or toys to keep your child busy during the wait. Try setting aside a new book or activity for use only at the doctor's office.
- Be honest. If your child is due for a vaccination, tell them what will happen and how it might feel. Saying "it won't hurt" may lead to more anxiety at their next visit. A better alternative is to offer a distraction, such as a song or a video. Something as simple as blowing a pinwheel works, too.
- Time visits right. Schedule appointments strategically by avoiding nap and mealtimes. A hungry or tired child almost always guarantees more meltdowns. If that's not possible, come prepared with a snack.
- Be proactive. Use MyChart to fill out registration forms and health questionnaires before your child's appointment. You'll have less to do when you arrive and more time to focus on your little one. Don't have a MyChart account? Sign up here.
- Reward brave behavior. Plan something fun after their appointment—a visit to the ice-cream shop or playtime at the park. Reinforce the idea that being brave pays off.
- Let them "call the shots." Get out your toy doctor's kit and role play. Teach your child about what will happen at their visit. Then, switch roles and let them be the doctor.
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