Some children have a fear of a visit to the doctor and medical procedures. It proves to be challenging when a medical test or surgery needs to be done. As a parent, you are torn between calming your child’s fears and giving what they need. What ways can help your child to relax and give them a smooth experience?
Research for Alternatives
Ask your pediatrician if there are other options. For example, an open MRI scan is available here in London, even without a referral. This type will help ease the anxiety of your child because they would not feel trapped.
If surgery is needed, research if the non-invasive kinds are available. This way, your child would not have to brave the surgical needles. You can also see if there are more advanced ones that take a shorter time to perform. Sometimes, the anxiety of the child springs from the thought of separation.
Choose to Be Honest with Your Child
It is best to prepare your child about the experience by describing what they will encounter. Use a language that they will understand. Do not use medical jargon. Also, do not use fancy terms, such as magic or things. Be as straightforward as you can.
Describe according to senses. Explain what they are likely to see or feel. But, avoid inciting fear by being too descriptive. Gory details of sharp needles and scissors may not sit well with your child.
Find the best time to have this discussion with your child. Do it before your trip to the clinic or hospital. Having it too early will make some details vague to them. Waiting too long might not be enough time to curb his anxiety.
Supplement with Educational Materials
Your child may still have some questions after your talk. You can use different educational materials. Look for stories, films, or videos that will make it easier for you to explain. Your pediatrician may help you with this. If not, the Internet is a useful reference for such materials. Make sure that your sources are credible and will not give false information.
Engage in Pretend Play
Playing has many benefits for a child. Medical play is an excellent strategy to help your child calm their apprehensions. Find their favorite doll or teddy and let it accompany the child on their doctor’s visit. An accommodating pediatrician or health practitioner will get the purpose of this companion. Have a simulation with their favorite toy.
It may be a tooth extraction, an IV insertion, or an MRI procedure. Seeing it done to others will help calm the child. Entertain questions they might have while the simulation is ongoing.
Comfort and Reward
When all else fails, your reassurance will be the thing that will matter most to your child. Comfort through their pain. Soothe through words of reassurance. Be generous with gentle touches. If the procedure involves putting them to sleep, tell them that you will watch over them until they wake up.
Also, be ready with rewards. You can choose between their favorite food, a small toy, or a special excursion once the procedure is done. You can do all three if you feel like it. Most of all, tell them that because they are brave enough, the best reward is better health for them. This way, they will appreciate better the procedure that they have undergone.
There are many fears that your child will face in their lifetime. What they need to understand is they have to conquer some of them. Plus, they have you as their greatest ally.