How You Can Prepare for Your Child Well-Check Appointment
Your child needs to see a pediatrician once a year for a well-child check. The check is similar to your own annual physical, though it is tailored to the needs of a growing child. Your pediatrician will ensure that your child is growing healthily and is meeting developmental milestones. Your pediatrician will also check in on your child’s mental and emotional health.
Visiting the doctor may seem routine to you by now, but it can still seem scary or overwhelming for your child, especially if they are younger. Preparing your child can help them feel more comfortable and to be more involved in the process. Here are a few things you can do to help your child get ready for the well-check appointment:
Help Your Child Know What to Expect
Some of the fear your child feels can be attributed to just not knowing what to expect. Even if your child has been to the doctor in the past, they may not know that the visit will be much the same. They may worry needlessly about what might happen.
You can put their mind at ease and help them feel more confident by telling them what will happen. Explain that the doctor (or a nurse) will weigh them, check their temperature, take their blood pressure, and look in their eyes and ears. Explain that you will talk to the doctor about how your child has been growing and how things have been going at school. Tell them that the doctor will feel their belly and look at their body while you are there to make sure that everything looks ok.
Armed with knowledge, your child is likely to feel a lot more comfortable going into the visit. Make sure you answer any questions your child has ahead of time, as well.
Be Ready to Discuss Development and Concerns
If your child sees you flounder during the visit, they may feel uncertain and worried. Know that the pediatrician will ask you a lot of questions about our child’s development and what kind of concerns you may have. Spend some time thinking through these issues before you go so that you are ready to answer questions and to bring up pertinent issues.
Let your child know ahead of time if you will be bringing up any concerns. You want your child to know that you are operating out of care for them, not that you are saying bad things about them to the doctor.
Have a Plan for Siblings
The pediatrician will examine your child during the visit, including looking under their shirt and in their bathing suit areas. That can be embarrassing or uncomfortable if there are siblings present. It can also be difficult to have a conversation with the doctor if other children are present and making a lot of noise or asking a lot of questions.
Make a plan for your other children during the visit. Try to get a sitter for them while you take your child to the visit alone. If that’s not possible, find out if there is a separate room where they can wait during the visit.
Prepare Your Child for Immunizations and Tests
One of the biggest things that scares kids about going to the doctor is the idea that they will have to get a shot. You can put these fears to rest right away by telling them that they don’t have to get a shot – if that is actually true. If they do have to get immunizations or blood tests, prepare them for this. You can explain what will happen and minimize the fear however possible, such as by explaining that there will only be one shot (again, only if that is actually true) or explaining that it will be very quick.
If it is helpful for your child, you may also consider having a special reward after the visit, such as going to get ice cream or spending time at the park. Remind your child of that during the immunizations to try to make it a little easier to get through it.
Going to the doctor is something your child is going to need to do every year. There’s no need to make it harder on you both. Help your child feel more relaxed by getting them ready for the visit and knowing what to expect. You’ll help to build a healthy relationship between your child and their doctor, and that will help your child maintain healthy habits throughout adulthood.
If your child is ready for their next annual well check, call A2Z Pediatrics today to schedule an appointment. Our pediatric team will help to put your child at ease. We know that healthy habits start young, and we will work with you to help your child develop those habits, starting with making their trips to the pediatrician as easy as possible. Call us today to make an appointment.