Today was Blake’s 2 1/2-year-old wellness checkup with the pediatrician. He was little ball of nerves and making it clear that he didn’t want to go. Even with a personal child life specialist, who incorporates medical play, validates feelings and reads books to help prepare him, he still shouts, “No Doctor!”
This morning, he did some exploratory medical play with his brother, while I just observed from afar. He looked at some photos in the book, It’s Time For Your Checkup, but was more interested in watching a Lego Batman movie. He did pack a little coping kit, filled with his ambulance, fire truck book and favorite blanket.
While we were waiting for the doctor, he sat on my lap, needing to feel reassured that he was safe. We sang his favorite songs, played I-Spy in the room and a little game of “Where is Blake?” His anxiety decreased he was smiling, engaged and requesting to play more.
Here is a little clip of our game:
The doctor did her exam, gave him his immunization and flu mist vaccination while he sat on my lap. There were a few tears during the vaccinations, but within a minute he had stopped and was digging around in the sticker basket for his favorite frozen characters.
So think about playing and engaging with your child when they are demonstrating behaviors of fear. It can help the rest of the exam flow more smoothly and less traumatizing.