Communicating With Your Child's PhysicianIN TODDLERS' HEALTH
Though children can be vocal, they often need help explaining and clarifying what they’re thinking or feeling. When it comes to a trip to the physician’s office, parents play a key role in communicating clearly with the physician to effectively manage their child’s health care.
Whether you’re taking your child for a routine checkup, addressing past issues or discussing some new developments, there are steps you can take to make the most of office visits. With proper preparation and planning, your appointment should run smoothly and efficiently.
Preparing in Advance
Before you arrive at the physician’s office, plan ahead by following these tips:
- Be knowledgeable. Research the illness or injury before you enter the appointment to help you more clearly communicate with your physician and ask specific questions.
- Call a sitter. If you have more than one child, arrange for a babysitter during the appointment, if possible, to help you focus on the physician and the information he or she will share.
- Pay attention. In the days preceding your appointment, carefully monitor your child and record any details of pertinent health information to mention to the physician.
- Write down your inquiries. Draft questions for the physician in a notebook to help guide your discussion.
At the Physician’s Office
Use the time you are allotted wisely and consider the following recommendations to help guide the visit and communicate well with the physician:
- Ask questions. Using your notebook as a basis, be confident and share your concerns. Physicians desire to be your partner in health care and are eager to answer your questions.
- Be clear and detailed. Though it is important to be mindful of your physician’s time, remember that he or she wants the best for your child and is willing to listen and respond. Don’t rush through your concerns and stumble over important issues. Take your time and speak clearly on the subjects of concern.
- Focus on comprehension. Before you leave the office, make sure you fully understand any treatment plans, recommendations or confusing terminology.
- Take notes. In the same notebook you drafted your questions, write down information you glean from the physician to avoid forgetting important details.
Calming Your Child’s Fears
Some children exhibit a strong fear of annual exams, leaving parents wondering how to comfort their children and encourage bravery. If your child has a fear of going to the physician’s office, consider the following precautions to help ease your child’s anxiety:
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Sources: kidshealth.org, eduguide.org, fmshk.org
For more information on toddlers' health, visit Dayton Children's website.