After a particularly heinous doctor visit, I realized my toddler has got to get some new well-visit strategies. As in, he's got to stop kicking the doctor as I hold his arms and head so she can look in his mouth/ear/nose. THAT behavior is no longer cute.
Apparently I'm not alone, as misbehavior at the pediatrician's office is a frequent topic on parenting message boards. Fear of the doctor is common for the 1- to 2-year-old crowd, and I'm glad to know my son isn't the only big screamer in the lobby. However, we can't keep up this kind of intensity, as I fear he may get written up on assault charges.
I've dug up a few strategies that other toddler parents swear work in the doc's office. You can bet I'll be testing them out at his two-year appointment.
Appointment Time Can Make or Break 'Em
If you're not in an emergency situation, always ask for the first appointment of the day. That way you won't have an antsy toddler hanging out in the waiting room working himself into a lather. Just like my kid does.
Apparently with some kids, you need to treat the doctor's office as you would a cross-country flight. According to this new study about the importance of play with kids, bringing along new toys to the doctor's office will help release your toddler's stress. No word on if it will help yours.
Books, Books, Books!
There are a lot of kid books that deal with doctor visits, presumably to take the mystery out of the visit. From Biscuit to the Berenstain Bears, there's a "look, it's a stethoscope!" book for your anxious little one. Even better if your doctor actually behaves like a sweet, patient doctor in a children's book.
Remember It's a Phase
Toddlers are kind of the worst when it comes to fearing doctors. Doctors, strangers, barbers ... really anybody. But know that in six months to a year, you'll have a chill pre-schooler on your hands. And you'll have big kid problems on your hands.
How do you keep your toddler calm in the doctor's office?
Image via Digital Sextant/Flickr