A pediatrician friend of mine often laments about zealous parents promising children that there won’t be any needles or procedures that may agonize the child. And if the child is due for a vaccination, as a doctor she has broken the child’s trust. The next time pediatric doctor makes a promise to the child, he is unlikely to believe her. But you can’t really blame parents for this. As a mother of two, I understand how difficult it is to prepare a child for a visit to the pediatrician. Anxious parents in an effort to calm children often unknowingly end up making matters worse.
But there are several ways through which a pediatrician’s visit can be made interesting and welcoming. waiting room toys, activity wall panels, play table or wooden play cubes are the centers of attention and the place where children of all ages congregate to play while waiting for the doctor’s checkup. These toys, when placed in the pediatric clinic, distract kids from the unpleasant thoughts and start visit in the right mood.
Needless to say, the first step is to ensure that the atmosphere is calming but fun filled and interesting. The friend whom I earlier mentioned made sure that the rooms completely distracted the child from the purpose of the visit. There were walls with different themes that range from deep sea to dense forest. If the deep sea room had walls with pictures of corals, star fishes and octopuses, the dense forests had pictures of giraffes, monkeys and elephants amidst wild bushes and trees. To throw in a good measure of reality, the deep sea room had an aquarium as well. There were waiting room toys placed in each room.
While we are on the subject of toys, it’s important that the pediatrician chooses the toys with care. They should be interesting enough for the child to play and the collection should be vast enough to be used by children of all age groups. A good idea is to include at least one game that involves group activity. You can’t be having enough toys to give all the children at the same time. Thus, activity wall panels or activity tables are of great use, since many children can play at once. You can even choose from giant building blocks that children can play with.
But make sure, you’ve devised a way to ensure that the toys from the’ unwell’ section does not spill over to the toys in the ‘healthy’ section.
And finally it’s not only about the clinic and the pediatric clinic toys; it’s about the pediatrician himself as well. Doctors who end up making false promises that a procedure would be painless (when it’s going to be just the opposite), doctors who aren’t patient enough with children are sure to be unpopular among children.
The next time a parent’s complaining about a child refusing to visit the pediatrician, make sure you take a good look around the clinic. The solution probably lies within the clinic, than with the child.