Tips for a Stress-Free Visit to the Pediatrician

When visiting the pediatrician, many children and parents feel nervous or anxious. Follow these tips to relax when going to the doctor!
María José Roldán

Written and verified by the psychopedagogue María José Roldán.

Last update: 27 December, 2022

It isn’t weird for parents and children to feel nervous when going to the pediatrician. Besides, this can happen during your first or eleventh visit. Sometimes, parents don’t even know what to expect. This is why we’ll give you some tips for a stress-free and anxiety-free visit to the pediatrician. 

Sometimes, there’s a combination of different factors that make this visit more or less complicated. In fact, there are certain ways of making it easier. In addition, you can use some tricks to alleviate the stress you may feel during and after the visit.   

Notwithstanding, remember that if your child has experienced an extreme medical procedure or some kind of medical trauma, you should visit a mental health professional. This is because this situation may exceed the scope of this article.

Before your visit to the pediatrician

You should bear these recommendations in mind before going to the pediatrician:

  • Choose the best pediatrician. You have to make sure you feel comfortable with the person that’s going to give you all the information about your children’s health. Even though doctors study for years, they may also make human mistakes.
  • Organize yourself before visiting the pediatrician. This may sound obvious, however, it’s very important to be well organized before going to the doctor. In order to do this, you should take into account your children’s schedules so you don’t get anxious or nervous. You should avoid their feeding or nap times. If you can, make arrangements to visit the pediatrician when your children are well-rested, well-fed, and in a good mood.
Boy at the pediatrician.
  • Take a deep breath. Try to keep calm, because your children can feel your anxiety. They can even feel the tension by the way you hold them. So, keeping positive thoughts in mind while you take a deep breath, can help you visit the pediatrician without being stressed.
  • Tell your children why you’re visiting the doctor. Be honest with your children and make sure they know why they’re going to the doctor. You can tell them they’re going to the pediatrician to make sure they’re healthy. Remember that talking about vaccines and blood tests may make everything more difficult. So, follow your intuition to take care of their needs. For example, you can tell them something such as: “The nurse is going to poke your arm to make sure you’re healthy. I’ll be there for you”.
  • Use toys. If you use medical kits to play with your kids, they’ll be more familiar with the different procedures they may face during their visit to the doctor: checking their heart rates, breath, ears, mouth, etc.

Stress-free and anxiety-free visit to the pediatrician

You should bear the following tips in mind during your visit to the pediatrician:

  • Be present and in tune with your child. Make your best effort to be in tune with your children’s feelings. They can be scared or stressed. In this case, it’ll be your job to comfort them and support them during this experience.
  • Explain to them why you’re there, again. It’s very important to tell your children why you’re there and ask them for permission to touch their body (all children must know their rights, so they’ll know when to tell somebody to stop when not feeling comfortable). Actually, children tend to feel quite stressed when they’re somewhere new and in front of strangers. In addition, these new people will tell them to sit on a weighing scale, so it’ll be better for them to be prepared.
  • Calm your children down. In order to do this, use your body language. You can hug them, massage them, and talk to them using a soft voice. Remember that your children need you to help them regulate their emotions and calm their anxiety.
  • Take their concerns into account. Even though you believe everything your doctor says, remember that they’re human, too. Besides, you are your children’s primary caregiver, so you have to ask all the necessary questions, even though they may sound silly. In addition, you don’t have to make decisions in a rush. Take your time to think about your next move.
Boy visiting the doctor.

After visiting the pediatrician

The process will continue even after the visit, especially if something new came up during your last appointment.

  • Support. Continue helping your children express their emotions and remind them of the positive aspects, such as your own presence.
  • Validate. Validate their experience and feelings. This is because they need to know that what they feel is perfectly normal. They’re allowed to be afraid or to cry.
  • Play. Let them play once you get home. You can use the medical kit or the toys they prefer in order to express their feelings. In the end, you might be surprised about the things they can express, and how they counted on you when you were at the doctor.

The challenge of visiting the pediatrician without feeling anxious or stressed

As we’ve mentioned before, many factors can make you and your children feel anxious or stressed when visiting the pediatrician. However, you can use these tips next time you go to the doctor and you’ll feel much better.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.