We’d like to think that at Weiss Pediatric Care every child, little and big, feels comfortable, confident, and courageous when they come to see us. After all, we care deeply about our patients and their families, we understand child behavior, and we are encouraging and respectful.
But there are children who are, by nature, more fearful than others. And visits that are inherently more stressful than others. The pre-kindergarten well visit is action packed with new experiences like vision screening, and unpleasant ones like finger sticks (for hemoglobin) and immunizations.
Recently, five year old Sarah (not her real name) was visibly anxious from the moment she arrived at the office for her 5 year check-up. We used all of our tricks and skills to reassure her (and her mother) and to empower her with age-appropriate information and support. In the end, she chattered up a storm on her way out of the office, having chosen the perfect “treasure”. But the in-between was rocky.
When I asked her mother what would have made the visit less anxiety-filled, she said that she wished she had better prepared her daughter for what to expect. She said that our team had done a great job explaining things, but she wished that she had thought to pave the way for a successful visit by talking about it with her daughter ahead of time.
If you’re like this mom and are wondering how to explain what happens at a well-visit, we found a great children’s book called My Friend the Doctor, by Joanna Cole, that provides just the right words and accurate information to help 4-8 year olds learn about routine checkups. There are even tips for parents about preparing a child for an upcoming appointment.
Children’s books are a wonderful way to provide age appropriate information, reassurance, and strategies and spark great conversations too! My Friend the Doctor is now on our book shelf in our waiting room. We hope you’ll enjoy it with your child the next time you come to see us.
Do you have other children’s books that have helped prepare your child for a visit to our office? Please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your favorites…and I’ll be sure to pass them along to our families.