How do you keep children from freaking out at the doctors?

@much2say (40201)
United States
July 1, 2010 9:53am CST
My poor 5 year old had to get her kindergarten shots plus her TB test (which is like a shot these days - different from when I was a kid). She got 4 shots in all and that was pretty horrific for her. She was screaming and kicking . . . oh I felt so bad for her. I knew that would happen, and I didn't want her to go through that twice if I split up the shot days, so we decided all at once would be better. But of course it didn't feel good for her. We had to do the physical on another day as they couldn't take walk ins on the shot day. Oh my, she was freaking out too - no matter how much we tried to convince her there would be no shots that day. She tried to run from the doctor (in that little room) . . . OY. She wouldn't even let the doctor hear her heartbeat. The doctor offered to let her hear her own heartbeat. She gave her the stethoscope . . . my daughter put it on her ears, but refused to put the circle end on her heart. Instead she just held it in her hand. "My thumb!" she yelled, "I can hear my thumb!" - ha ha. That was funny - but it was a bear to get through the physical . . . the doctor somehow got through it and she was a-ok. Hopefully it's better next year when she is 6. Of course this time around it was obviously bad because of the shots from days before. How do you make doctors visits more relaxing for your child? I couldn't even bribe her with a merry-go-round ride afterwards at the mall . . . chocolate cake for lunch maybe? Hee hee.
5 responses
@dawnald (84146)
• Shingle Springs, California
2 Jul 10
Every child's different, of course, but once they got to an age where they understood things, they dealt with things much better if I told them in advance what to expect. Even shots...
@much2say (40201)
• United States
3 Jul 10
Oh yah, my daughter understands . . . she understands that shots hurt like ****! Hee hee (or not hee hee). I told her in advance to be fair in warning her - and we calmed her all we could - and no matter what it had to be done. Maybe she'll understand better next year.
1 person likes this
@dawnald (84146)
• Shingle Springs, California
3 Jul 10
Maybe she already understands all too well and just doesn't want to have anything to do with it. Not every child is going to respond with "oh yeah mommy I'll be brave"...
@much2say (40201)
• United States
4 Jul 10
Oh, she definitely doesn't want to have anything to do with it!! I just remember when I was a kid, I kept silent and still when it came to shots - I braved it. She's the exact opposite - yep, every kid is different!
@dorannmwin (36698)
• United States
3 Jul 10
Well, you've pretty much already done the main thing that I've done with my children to keep them from having doctor anxiety. The only difference is that I will take my children to the health department for their shots and I won't refer to that as the doctor's office at all. That way they aren't associating a visit to the doctor's office with pain. Then if they do well with their shots I will get them a milkshake afterwards. If they behave during a visit to the doctor's office they are rewarded with dumdums.
@much2say (40201)
• United States
4 Jul 10
That's good that you can keep the shot part separate from the actual doctor's office. Well, with our insurance changing and such - maybe it'll be different story next year - besides the fact that my daughter will be another year maturer. We tried the reward thing - but that didn't help . . . we bribed her with several merry-go-round rides at the nearest mall from the doctor's office, but that didn't work. I remember we always had milkshakes and tacos after our doctor's office visits - hee hee!
@lilybug (21148)
• United States
1 Jul 10
My daughter has gotten all of her shots at the health department and not the doctors office, so I have not had this problem with the doctor which is good because we are there more often than the health department. She does not like going to the health department and will start crying as soon as she see's the lady that gives her the shot. She always gets a sucker and a sticker after, so then she is ok. I have never had to deal with her running around trying to get away from them though.
@much2say (40201)
• United States
1 Jul 10
Luckily, it was a nurse who gave the shots - so hopefully she won't remember her if she ever has to go again - hee hee. Kids know when the shots are coming and the older they are, the more they'll remember where it is done and who may give it. I think my daughter did get a sticker afterwards - and yah, she was better then too. We had the physical like a week after the shot ordeal, so I'm pretty sure that was fresh in her memory. Eek.
@jillbeth (2711)
• United States
1 Jul 10
This is pretty common behavior for young children, and most of them outgrow their fear of the doctor's office as they get older, so it may just be a matter of time and waiting for her to mature! I'd suggest that you buy her a toy doctor's kit and help her play doctor with you (or a doll or a friend). She can check your heartbeat, look in your ears and eyes, give a pretend shot, all the things that she will experience at her own doctor's appointments. While you're play-acting, urge her to talk about her experiences at the doctor's office and find out what bothers her most, whether it's the fear of pain from the shots, a stranger touching her, whatever, and help her talk through her feelings. Let her know that everybody needs to go to the doctor once in a while for check-ups or if they're sick; it's not anything personal!
@much2say (40201)
• United States
1 Jul 10
We were thinking about getting her a doctor's kit too . . . preferably one that works like the real one (um, well, except the shot of course - hee hee). Oh gosh, for a long time she was saying doctors were monsters - OY! I sure hope she outgrows the fear . . . but it's good to keep talking to her about it like you said. Now the shot thing, eek, no one ever likes getting those . . . I hope we can help her with that one!!
@incus99 (1086)
• Philippines
1 Jul 10
for a child, a visit to a doctor is really a horrific experience..the thought of an injection is enough to freak me out as a kid.. I really think that the whole thing really depends on the doctor's skill on quelling the situation with the child..
@much2say (40201)
• United States
1 Jul 10
That is true. Some doctors are better than others in dealing with children - even nurses. The nurse that gave her the shots was not particularly good - even though she tried to be. She tried to fool my daughter by distracting her with watching a bubble form on her skin with the TB shot. You think my daughter wants to watch her skin bubble up?