4 Ways to Prepare Your Kids for a Trip to Urgent Care
It’s rough going to your local urgent care with little ones. If you are going because they aren’t feeling well, it makes it that much worse. Urgent care facilities do try to be a less scarier environment than the emergency room but it’s still an unfamiliar place that children can tend to be wary of. Here are a few ways that you can prepare you kids for a trip to the local urgent care clinic.
This is key. One of the scariest things about an urgent care is the unfamiliar atmosphere. The lighting is different, the people are unknown, the seats are new. It’s a whole different experience than what they are used to and it can be unnerving for them. If your children tend to regularly need trips to the local urgent care, then you might try setting aside a few beloved toys specifically for those times. When they see them, they will recognize them and it will give them a sense of familiarity. On the other hand, they won’t be too used to the toys that are ‘urgent care specific’ toys and so they won’t get bored of them quickly. Entertaining your children during the waiting time is really the worst part, according to most parents. Thankfully, urgent care facilities work hard to reduce the waiting time period. You probably won’t have to wait for longer than 15 or 20 minutes.
If your child is old enough to talk and listen, you might try talking to them all the way there about how wonderful the doctor is and how he or she is going to make your child feel better and that the urgent care clinic is a fun place where people go so that they can stop being sick and be happy. Avoid phrases like ‘it won’t hurt’ and things like that. One reason for that is, it might hurt and if it does, your child may feel lied to. Another reason is that, your child doesn’t realize at that moment in time that pain is even a possibility and could cause them to be more afraid than reassuring them. During the actual appointment, stay upbeat and use phrases like ‘you’re so brave!’ to show them that they are doing great and this is not a negative experience. Your children will key off of your emotions so try to remain happy and calm for their sake.
Most urgent cares will allow you to make an appointment so you can skip the waiting game all together. Then you only have to deal with the actual appointment and the doctor will be there to help you. When you make the appointment, call the clinic instead of making it online and let the clinic know that it is your child that you are bringing in order to prepare the nurse or doctor to have child friendly benefits ready, such as stickers, balloons, lollipops or whatever else they have to offer. These serve as great distractions for the child. Calling and letting them know ahead of time.
Kids love to play pretend. Pretending to be doctors and nurses will give you child a sense of play and interest when they go to see an actual doctor. They will love seeing a real life stethoscope and the other toys that they have on the actual medical workers. Incorporate typical medical practices like checking the eyes and ears and tapping the child knees so that they recognize these moves when the doctor does them. This will teach them to sit still, give them a sense of familiarity as well as make them feel like it’s all part of the same game.
Keep in mind that children are children and even if you follow these tips perfectly, you may still have to endure a meltdown. The important thing is to try not to get stressed. The medical staff in the urgent care see children every day and meltdowns and tantrums and fear are nothing new to them. Don’t worry about anyone and focus on what your child needs. This will help you to have a lower stress experience whenever you do need to go to a local urgent care.