Does your child have an upcoming routine medical appointment? Here are a few tips to make sure the appointment is as successful and enjoyable as it can possibly be for the parents and paediatrician, but also for the child!
1. Try to book the appointment in the morning for babies, as they are usually in a better mood than later in the day. If this does not apply to your child, choose a time that is better suited. However, you should avoid making an appointment during his or her regular naptime to avoid a tantrum.
2. For older children, try to book the appointment after school or during a day off so they do not miss important or fun school activities! Book the first appointment in the morning or afternoon if your child tends to be impatient when he or she has to wait.
3. Do not combine appointments for two children into one appointment because nothing really constructive ever comes of that. Instead, book consecutive appointments, one immediately following the other.
4. Dress your child appropriately to be able to undress them easily and make vaccination less of a struggle.
5. Do not forget their vaccination booklet! To avoid your child being late in his or her vaccination calendar, do not cancel an appointment for a simple cold.
6. Try to respect the periodical medical examination calendar such as 18 months, 2 years, etc.
7. Prepare your child for the appointment to help appease his or her fears. For example, you can say “Dr. Jones will count your teeth, look in your ears, listen to your heart, check your belly...” etc. You and your child can also read a little illustrated booklet on the subject so he or she knows what to expect.
8. Make sure your child has eaten before the appointment, or bring a snack.
9. Write down and prioritize your questions, from your main concern to your simplest question.
10. If your child has an intermittent problem, such as a skin problem for example, take a photo during a flare-up and show it to the paediatrician.
11. Bring your child’s favourite stuffed animal or doll so he or she will feel more secure.
12. Hold your child during the exam if it makes him or her more comfortable. Your child will feel safer in your arms and therefore more likely to be cooperative.
13. Do not be surprised if the paediatrician asks a lot of questions regarding your child’s intellectual and behavioural development. For example, the physician could ask you about your child’s relationships with family and friends, or if your child is able to write his or her name.
Each child is different. If medical appointments with your children typically degenerate into all-out wars, you are unlikely to lose anything by trying these few tips. Do not hesitate to ask your child’s paediatrician for advice, he or she may be able to provide you with additional tricks!