Parenthood is full of many challenges that may be difficult to anticipate. At the center of many of these challenges is the difficult reality that a child often has fears that are irrational or too extreme. When these fears interfere with important and necessary tasks, such as going to the doctor, it's important to be proactive and look for ways to actively reduce them.
Below, you'll find a guide to some ways you can help reduce your child's anxiety about seeking care from a physician. No two children will respond the same way to the same stimuli, but the suggestions below should help form a solid foundation of trust and openness that will give your child the tools to face his or her fears and care head on.
Games and Role Playing
A large part of the reason that children seem to have such intense and unpredictable fears is their general lack of life experience. Most anxiety springs from a concern about the unknown, and so making your child feel experienced can help combat that.
Before a doctor visit, it can be helpful to role play with your child and pretend that you're conducting a doctor visit at home. This will allow him or her to have a degree of familiarity with the situation while simultaneously alerting you to things they may be particularly nervous about.
Look For Common Ground
Many children have a generalized fear of unknown adults and authority figures. As such, breaking down some of the barriers between your child and his or her doctor can go a long way toward making the process feel more inclusive and less intimidating.
You should attempt to share your child's interests with your doctor and work them into the conversation during the visit. This will help the child feel like the doctor has a real interest in him or her, and will also reveal the doctor's humanity in such a way that it should help your child feel more trusting.
Maintain Your Own Calmness
In almost every situation, your child will look to you for cues on how to properly behave. If they notice fear and anxiety coming from you, they're likely to replicate it. Luckily, if they detect a calm confidence, it's very likely that they'll want to show you how brave they can be. You should try to encourage this behavior by maintaining your own calm during a doctor's visit, allowing your child to be reassured that there is nothing that they need to fear.
For more information, contact Mount Laurel Primary Care Physicians or a similar organization.Share
25 March 2015
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