For children, anything new can be quite scary, more so if it’s related to doctors, which most kids associate with pain and discomfort. So, if your child needs to visit a chiropractor in Utah, for example, how can you help them prepare for their first consultation?
Many chiropractors recommend these tips:
1. Discuss the problem and the solution
One of the best ways to ease your child’s anxiety about visiting an unfamiliar doctor is to talk about the problem. For instance, if they’ve hurt their back while playing and need a chiropractor, explain the problem in a way that they can understand and then tell them why going to the doctor is the solution. Make it seem like a simple cause-and-effect matter.
“You’ve hurt yourself while playing so to get rid of the pain, we must visit a doctor who can fix you up.” Most children will understand and accept this explanation readily, especially if it’s coming from you.
2. Tell them about the appointment beforehand
It seems much easier to just drive your child to their appointment without telling them beforehand so they don’t spend days worrying about it. However, this can do significant damage to their trust towards you and make them even more anxious about the visit. For some kids, doing this can even lead to severe meltdowns, which can make it more difficult for the chiropractor to diagnose the problem.
Instead of pulling a surprise visit, tell your child about the appointment at least two to three days before the actual date. Afterwards, you can use the days leading up to the visit to mentally prepare them for it.
3. Talk about chiropractic care
Most children don’t know what a chiropractor is, much less what they do. Talk to them in simple terms about what chiropractic medicine is and what a chiropractor does. In this way, they can feel safer knowing that they will be treated by a trained professional.
4. Describe the procedure
Children feel less anxious when they know what to expect. Thus, it helps to describe the intended procedure to them without making it seem scary. You can even do a mock procedure on a table so your child can practice laying still and letting the doctor move them around. If your child is old enough, you can have them watch videos of actual procedures to let them have a better idea of what it’s going to be like.
5. Do a dry run
If you have the time, take your child to the chiropractor’s clinic before the appointment. The chiropractor and other staff members may be able to talk to them and help ease their nervousness. At the very least, your child can get used to being in the clinic so they don’t feel as anxious on the day of the actual appointment.
Going to a doctor can be terrifying from the perspective of a child, especially if it’s a doctor that they aren’t familiar with. Aside from these tips to ease your child’s anxiety, the best way to help them prepare for their first chiropractic appointment is to focus on the benefits of their visit, specifically pain relief.