For many adults, the thought of a trip to the doctor makes their stomach turn and anxiety take over. In many cases, this unnecessary dread of a visit to the doctor starts at a very young age. For this reason, if you have children, teaching them to love visiting the local family physician can be beneficial to their long-term health. If they develop a good relationship with their doctor at a young age, they will continue to prioritize their annual checkups into adulthood.
As your local Austin / Bee Cave primary care physician, we are passionate about helping you and your whole family stay healthy. From annual checkups to visits when you are sick, our goal is to help you feel comfortable during every visit. We take the time to listen carefully to our patients and work hard to make them feel valued and heard.
If you are hoping to instill a love of doctors in your child’s life, check out these tips that can help.
You Are The Example They Will Follow
The first thing to do when trying to raise kids that don’t dread a visit to the doctor is to think about the example you are setting. Do you visit the family physician for your annual check-up? Do you speak positively about a visit to your doctor?
If you avoid going to the doctor or talk about how much you hate visiting your physician, your kids will pick up on that example. No matter how much we try to guide our children one direction, they are most likely to follow what we do, not what we say. For this reason, you need to start with yourself. If you have hang-ups about visiting the doctor, get to the bottom of them. If you have been putting off your annual checkup, schedule it today. Find a doctor you trust and build a quality relationship with them. When your children see you model a positive mindset about doctor visits, they will naturally follow suit and assume doctors are on their side.
Choose A Friendly Physician
It isn’t always easy to talk to a doctor about an illness or a worry. For that reason, be sure you pick a family physician that your kids can feel comfortable with. Opt for someone who is friendly and listens carefully. You want your children to have positive experiences with medical staff from a young age to prevent any resentment or fear from forming.
You can even talk to your family physician prior to your child’s visit and ask for their help in making it the best possible situation. While no child is going to love getting shots or seeing a doctor when they are sick, the right family physician can still make it a good experience.
Talk Through Fears Before The Visit
Is your child worried about an upcoming doctor’s visit? Do you sense some anxiety that they might not even be expressing? Take the time to talk to your kid before the visit arrives about any fears they might have. In many cases, as you ask your young one about what is upsetting them, you might find their fears completely unfounded. They might be carrying around a false idea of what is going to take place at the doctor’s office.
By talking through fears, you can help your child see what is true and what isn’t. This can go a long way in alleviating unnecessary anxiety. Not only that, but in many cases, just talking about our fears can help them feel far less overwhelming.
Take Time After A Visit For A Treat And Chat
Once you take your child to the doctor, plan a special treat for afterward. We all have fond memories of going out for ice cream after a trip to the doctor or getting a special day at the park. As you spend time with your child after the doctor’s visit, take some time for a quick chat about the day.
Ask about how the visit went. Find out if they had any concerns or if anything was confusing to them. Your child should learn from a young age that their health is theirs to advocate for. They should be taught how to ask questions from their doctor when they don’t understand something and to express any worries they might have. Debriefing with a fun post-appointment activity can be a great way to ensure your child doesn’t fear their next visit.
Be Sure You Always Listen Carefully To Your Kids
Finally, be sure you always listen carefully to any feedback from your children. Don’t brush over anything that is bothering them or was scary. By listening to their concerns and hearing them out, you can help ensure the doctor you are visiting is the right fit for your family. Not only that, but as your child gets older, having an open line of communication about their health will be of the utmost importance.
Book An Appointment Today
If you are looking for a family physician who truly cares about the well-being of you and your kids, come visit us at Hill Family Medicine. We are dedicated to providing excellent medical care for young and old. Let us know when you are visiting with your child and we will go out of our way to help reinforce a positive experience. We want your child to feel comfortable and welcomed when they meet with our medical team. Book an appointment today with your local primary care physician in Bee Cave / Austin and help raise your children to care about their own health.