Anyone in a white coat –doctor, dentist, nurse – is enough to terrify my child. Please tell me how to handle this.
Children pick up on adults’ apprehensions and fears, so make sure you’re not giving her subtle non-verbal cues when you’re going to see a healthcare professional. To allay her fears, take her with you to the doctor or dentist on some of your own appointments so she can see that it’s safe and friendly. (It helps if you see the same doctor or dentist as your children, but this isn’t always possible.) At home, play doctor and nurse with her dolls and you be the patient. Show her how the doctor makes it all better. When her own doctor’s appointment comes around, calmly discuss and listen to her fears. Reassure her that you will be with her and the doctor just wants to make sure that she’s healthy. Don’t discuss it too far ahead of time as she may start to feel anxious and in turn worry more about it.
Published March 2010