Your Child’s Checkup: 10 Tips to Prepare Parents & Kids

medical-563427_960_720Well child checkups are a routine part of your child’s life; in fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a yearly visit for all children over the age of one.  Though sometimes dreaded by the child (and therefore the parent), these visits are really opportunities to follow their growth and development and to review accurate information regarding their overall health.  Other topics such as nutrition, bedwetting, parenting, and, of course, vaccinations can also all be discussed with your child’s health care provider during the visit.  Here are some tips to help prepare both parents and children to get the most out of their appointment:

Well child checkups are a routine part of your child’s life; in fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a yearly visit for all children over the age of one.  Though sometimes dreaded by the child (and therefore the parent), these visits are really opportunities to follow their growth and development and to review accurate information regarding their overall health.  Other topics such as nutrition, bedwetting, parenting, and, of course, vaccinations can also all be discussed with your child’s health care provider during the visit.  Here are some tips to help prepare both parents and children to get the most out of their appointment:

For Children:

  1. Let your child know before the scheduled appointment that they will be visiting the doctor to make sure that their body is healthy.  Positioning the visit in a positive manner should help to alleviate any fear that something may be wrong. Children who are more sensitive may agonize for days before their checkup, so use your best judgment as to how far in advance you will let them know about the appointment.
  2. Ask your child to be a participant in the process. Make a list of topics that you feel he/she may want to review. In addition to health issues, include some fun achievements that you may want to share on your child’s behalf with the provider such as a recent award, team participation, or a great dental checkup. Getting them involved will help to empower them.
  3. Many children like to play out their visit beforehand. Try providing your child with a doctor’s kit to get them familiar with what may happen at the appointment. A picture book about going to the doctor can also help to alleviate fear that the child may have about the unknown. Keep in mind that all good nurses will review in detail all that she or he will be doing along the way. Letting your child know that there should be no big surprises should help to reassure them.
  4. If your child is anxious about shots, let him or her know that the doctor will help decide what is best and that vaccines exist to help keep the body healthy. Depending on the child’s personality and temperament, you may want to either let them know beforehand about the possibility of shots to help prepare them, or perhaps your child will do well not to stress in the days leading up to the appointment about shots; in this case leave it up to the doctor to discuss.
  5. Be positive, but don’t lie. There is no need to say, for instance, that a shot won’t hurt.  Of course it hurts, but certainly not as bad as a child usually imagines it. To help put it in perspective, you can teach your child the concept of the pain being on a scale from 0-10: “0” is no pain while “10” is very painful.  Let your child know that a shot is about a 2 or 3 on the pain scale so they can grasp that though there will be a little pain, it won’t be great. Most pre-school children can understand this concept.

 

For Parents:

  1. Arrive early so there is plenty of time to do the paper work. Your health provider will need to know your insurance information and any recent updates, so arriving in advance of the appointment will save you the stress of rushing around. Your child can play in the waiting room while you check in.
  2. Come prepared! Don’t forget to bring your child’s immunization card to the visit, as keeping track of vaccines and updating your records is vital for school entrance paperwork. Also be prepared to tell your health provider about any updates in your child’s health history, allergies, or other concerns that you may have. Making a list before hand can help you remember all of the key updates once you arrive.
  3. Don’t make false promises that there won’t be shots if you know there will be just to ease your child’s fear. If your child is particularly anxious about the possibility of a shot, speak to your physician. There are numbing creams, sprays, breathing techniques and other approaches to managing their anxiety. Even just telling a joke or talking about a funny memory can do wonders!
  4. Avoid excessive reassurance, apologies or criticism if your child is distressed.  Typically, a sense of calm acceptance on the parent’s behalf goes a long way in providing the child with comfort.
  5. Last, but most importantly, plan time to celebrate in your own way with your child after the checkup. This could be lunch out, an ice cream cone, a small toy or treat, a special errand together. Take advantage of the opportunity to spend time with your child one on one.

Today’s guest writer is Dr. Chrystal de Freitas, author of Jake’s Kindergarten CheckupFor Parents

Screen Shot 2016-03-11 at 1.15.35 PMDr. Chrystal de Freitas is an author, mother, and pediatrician with a special interest in health education. WhileJake’s Kindergarten Checkup is her first picture book, she has authored several other well received books and educational material in her field.
A pediatrician for over 34 years, Dr. de Freitas is the founder of Carmel Valley Pediatrics. She is also the President of Healthy Chats®, which provides health education seminars to parents and their pre­teen children in the community at the local hospitals and online. Among her honors and achievements, she has been selected by the San Diego County Medical Society and San Diego Magazine as one of the area’s top doctors. Dr. de Freitas lives in San Diego, California, with her husband, Dr. Jeff Bonadio. They have three adult children.
Learn more about Dr. de Freitas and Jake’s Kindergarten Checkup at http://JakesKindergartenCheckup.comand connect with the author on Facebook and Twitter.
Jake’s Kindergarten Checkup can be purchased from http://JakesKindergartenCheckup.com, Amazon andBarnesandnoble.com.
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s