“Oh my poor baby, please don’t cry. I cannot see you this way”. This is a pretty common phrase that you get to hear from teary eyed parents in pediatric clinics. Visit to a pediatrician can be very stressful and emotionally challenging not only for the child but also for parents, as they have to handle their fussy kid and simultaneously interact with the doctor. Although stressful, these visits are unavoidable, at least during the first few years of parenthood. The key to stress free and smooth pediatric visit is keeping the child calm and comfortable. This would indirectly de-stress the parents. Here are a few suggestions that you could keep in mind while taking your kid to the pediatrician.
1. The Basic Step, Choose the Pediatrician Wisely: We as parents are so apprehensive about our little one’s well being that we select a pediatrician even before our kid is born. This is indeed required as the child’s health needs are to be taken care of right from the time of birth. Select a good pediatrician who is nearby. Kids are very vulnerable and God forbid you might have to rush them to the doctor in case of an emergency or at odd hours, so the pediatrician should be within easy reach. This would also prove quite convenient during the first year of birth where, the kids have periodic vaccinations and thus, frequent visits.
2. Timing does matter: Do not reach the clinic much before your scheduled appointment. Kids generally cry when they see other kids weeping. So, always arrive only a few minutes before the appointment in order to avoid such emotional fallouts. For follow ups and routine check-ups, choose an appropriate appointment time when the kid is well fed and is not sleepy.
3. The Emotional quotient: It is very likely that your kid would cry and many times uncontrollably, during such visits, due to (i)his heath condition, (ii) due to anxiety pertaining to changed surrounding, the doctor and the physical examination, (iii) due to treatment pain like getting flu shots and (iv) seeing other kids cry. Watching your kid cry can be emotionally exhausting. So what do you do as a parent? Does your heart melt and you breakdown? If yes, you are making your little one more miserable, as your tears make his conviction stronger that something is not right and the doctor is doing some harm to him. On the other hand, if you keep calm in spite of the emotional turmoil that you feel inside yourself your kid would soon be at ease. Here, you need to keep reminding your child that things are fine; the treatment is for his own good and he is getting better.
4. Carry Some Goodies: Always take your kids favorite toy or whatever he likes to play with during visits so that he can be easily distracted whenever he is feeling uncomfortable.
5. Watch Your Words: While comforting your child always be cautious about what you utter. Never console him by saying, “Oh! The doctor was unpleasant with you, bad, we will get even with him”. This would give an impression that that the doctor harmed him, and would foster the feeling of aversion and uneasiness in his mind towards the doctor. Another common mistake that parents commit is to instill fear about injection shot in order to get things done their way. For example, I noticed a parents calling out to their child “Eat this, otherwise you will get an injection prick”. Such remarks might get things done your way but would sow the seeds of fear and anxiety in the tender heart.
6. Hygiene and Sanitation: Always follow the basic cleanliness and sanitation routine during and after pediatric visits so that your child does not catch another infection from the clinic nor transfer his infection to some other kid. This is especially important for new born and infants who are inherently low in immunity.
- Always carry a washable sheet/ Disposable Changing Matfor spreading on the examination table, before you lay your kid for physical check up.
- Wash and sanitize hand after pediatric visit
- The pediatrician may have kept toys in the common waiting area. Do not let your kid put any of those toys especially soft toys in their mouth. These toys are one of the biggest sources of infection, since children with all kind of health issues come and play with them and might accidently contaminate the toys with their infection. Your kid may take up a secondary infection or transfer his infection in those toys.
7. The Prep Work: You will have to multitask (handle kid, your emotion and simultaneously interact with the peaditrician) during such visits. Therefore, make a mental note of all the points that you want to discuss, so that you do not miss any of the questions/doubts pertaining to your kids health.
8. Role Play: Get a toy doctor set and play doctor-doctor with your child at home. Enact how the pediatrician would carry out the physical examination. Let learning and play go side by side.
9. After the visit: The next herculean task after visit is to administer the prescribed medicine to the kid. This has to be done tactfully especially with older toddler’s as they are most prone to rejecting medicines, even spilling them or vomiting out if given by force. The best method I have found is to use a medicine dropper. You can easily administer liquids up to 10ml. Just fill the dropper, put the medicine in the cheek pocket, and lo! There is no spillage or vomiting.
The above methods worked for me, you could try these and see if they work for you and your little one. Do share your experience in the comments section.