As much as your child loves playing doctor, the real thing isn't always as fun. Many children are downright terrified when it comes to visiting the doctor or dentist. Finding out the reason behind the fear can help to make your next visit to your health-care provider a lot less stressful.
Here are some common reasons your child may be afraid of the doctor or dentist:
Separation. Kids are often afraid that their parents may leave them alone in an exam room and stay in another room or the waiting room.This separation can be scary to kids who are about to undergo a mysterious examination. How you can help: Stay with your kids when possible, and prep them for when it's not. Explain exactly what the doctor will do (listen to your heartbeat, tap your knee, ask you questions about how you're feeling, etc.). This will help kids to be more prepared and calm during the visit.
Pain. Kids may worry that part of the exam will hurt, or that they'll need an injection. This is especially common in kids 6-12 years old.
How you can help: Be honest with your kids. Explain to them that a vaccine or having blood drawn will hurt a little, but the sting will stop quickly. Explain that these procedures can help prevent further pain and illness later. Being upfront with your kids will help them be more prepared and less panicked if the doctor decides to draw blood at the appointment.
The Doctor. Some kids may be concerned about the doctor's manner. Speed or a detached attitude may be seen as dislike or sternness.
How you can help: When possible, try to find a doctor that has a reputation for being good with kids. More than anything, it's important to explain to your child that the doctor is there to help them. Help your child write down questions to ask the doctor before the visit so that your child feels more involved and connected with the doctor.
Encourage your kids to be open about how they're feeling, and be supportive when they voice their concerns. Here and here are some more tips about taking kids to the doctor.
Let us know how it goes!