As my baby approached her first birthday, there was one person she wasn’t a fan of: Her doctor. As he poked and prodded her, she’d cry and cling to me, point to the door and try to make her escape from the examination room.
Then her doctor gave me some advice that is today’s hint. “Get her a toy doctor’s kit,” he suggested, noting that playing with her own toy doctor instruments would help her feel less scared and more in control during future visits.
Following the doctor’s orders (with the help of my mom who gave my daughter this great “Kidoozie Little Doctor Kit”), we soon had a little doctor at home. And of course the doc was right: My tot loves playing with her stethoscope, blood pressure monitor and other instruments, especially the syringe (she likes to give everyone “shots”).
Now, whenever we go to the pediatrician’s office now, we bring the kit with us so my daughter can examine the doctor while he examines her. While my daughter certainly still has some doctor anxiety, the play kit has definitely helped her like the doctor a little bit more.
In fact, there actually are studies testifying that medical play can help make kids less anxious during doctor visits.
So if you also have a little doctor hater or know one, today’s hint is to consider adding a doctor’s kit to your holiday and birthday gift lists.
To be sure, there are other methods to soothing doctor anxiety. Parent Hacks, for example, shared two other tips back in 2011 for “reducing terror at the doctor’s office.” The gist of the two tapes: Have the doctor examine you first, or bring a portable media player to keep your little one distracted.
You also don’t have to spend money on a doctor’s kit. The sisters at blog My Sister’s Suitcase, for instance, share how to quickly make a “toddler ‘doctor kit” in a bag,” while the blog My Poppet shares a similar DIY pretend doctor’s kit tutorial as does the site Creative Green Living.
What are your tips for lessening your baby or toddler’s doctor office anxiety?