Six tips on how to make children lose fear of the doctor

It’s a real nightmare scenario for all mothers: The waiting room at the paediatrician’s is crowded and the offspring screams like a spit because they’re afraid of the doctor. But also in the treatment room the screaming continues and at this point at the latest most mothers are finally at the end of their nerves. A visit to the doctor is pure stress for mother and child, the fear of the doctor is particularly great if the child has already had bad experiences.

Good preparation is everything

If an appointment with the doctor is pending, then good preparation is half the success. The evening before, the insurance card, the vaccination card and the yellow examination booklet should be prepared and if there are questions to the doctor, parents should list the questions and the list of the necessary papers. The child should be dressed in a “doctor-friendly” way, i.e. shoes with Velcro, clothing to slip in and trousers with elastic band. In order to reduce the fear of the doctor, the pacifier and the favourite cuddly toy should also be included. This makes the offspring feel safer and the doctor can listen to the cuddly toy before going to the actual examination.

What to do when quenching in the waiting room?

At the pediatrician’s the waiting room is well equipped for the little patients, but at other doctors panic quickly arises with children. Here the favourite picture or story book can help to bridge the waiting time without whining. For small children, a colourful and exciting toy is also a good choice to minimise the fear of the doctor.

Creating trust with picture book and doctor case

Everyone feels better when they know what is coming and this is especially true for children who are afraid of the doctor. Picture books on the subject of doctors show what a doctor’s everyday work looks like and thus convey a picture of normality. With the doctor’s case, children can understand what the doctor does and slip into the role of the doctor themselves. The cuddly toys are eavesdropped on with a stethoscope and the teddy bear is examined with an otoscope. Mothers should explain the individual instruments and prepare the child so that the syringe that has just been given to the doll can also be used by the real doctor.

Fear of the doctor – this is how it works with needlesticks

Blood tests are one of the problem cases during visits to the doctor, because they can degenerate into stress. For babies and toddlers the puncture is not so bad, but older children should be distracted. This works very well with the cough trick; the child is distracted a little and then asked by the doctor to cough once. The doctor or mother asks for a second cough and while the child is coughing, the puncture is done. The same thing works when children are asked to scream loudly, which is especially fun when they are allowed to scream again.

Vaccinate without problems

The tips for taking blood samples are also recommended when vaccinating, but there are other things mothers should keep in mind. For example, children should always be vaccinated one morning because if there is an allergic reaction to the vaccine, the pediatrician will be in his office in the afternoon. If possible, vaccinations should not be given on a Friday or before a holiday, because if the child does not tolerate the vaccination, only the emergency department of the hospital remains. If two vaccinations are scheduled, the doctor should start the vaccination, which is less painful when pricking. If it becomes painful, a cold spray can help and make the puncture more bearable.

What parents should definitely not do

Fear of the doctor is normal, but sometimes parents and grandparents themselves are to blame if the child panics before the planned visit to the doctor. You should avoid saying “you’ll see, it’s not bad at all”, because children will conclude that it must be something bad. Lies also have short legs in this case. If parents promise that it won’t hurt at all and exactly the opposite happens at the doctor’s, then children very quickly lose confidence. It is better to tell the truth that it might hurt, because then the child is prepared and does not see the parents as liars.

Picture: © / XiXinXing

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“Ulrike Dietz is married, mother of two children and lives in Hochsauerland. The journalist and author writes articles on many topics and describes herself as flexible, open-minded and inquisitive.

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