The Parent’s Guide to Preparing Your Child for a Doctor’s Visit

Is your child afraid of going to the doctor? They’re not alone. A recent study found that about 50% of children aged 2 – 5 years old are scared of doctors’ visits. Why would this be the case, though? Well, for some kids, it’s a fear of the unknown. For others, it’s memories of past traumatic events – like getting a nasty, stinging shot at their last appointment.

But be that what it may, visits to medical practitioners like doctors and FNP online accredited family nurses are an essential part of kids’ development – whether it be for a routine check-up, or if your child is feeling unwell. Reluctant or not, here’s our guide to preparing your child for their upcoming doctor’s visit. 

Tip # 1: Roleplay Your Upcoming Visit

To take the uncertainty out of an upcoming doctor’s visit, consider roleplay. Have your child sit or lie down while you pretend to be their doctor or nurse, and go through the motions of their appointment. 

How to make the roleplay as realistic as possible? Consider purchasing a dummy medical kit – complete with a plastic stethoscope and other useful bits and bobs. These props can be easily procured from your local costume shop. Then, proceed to ask your child non-threatening, non-intimidating questions, all with a smile on your face. “How are you feeling today?”, you might ask them, or “Any aches and pains I should know about?” Keep your tone light and friendly. 

Doing this will help set up their expectations for their doctor’s visit, and help ease any anxiety your child may feel about the unknown – especially if it’s their first medical appointment.

Tip # 2: Ask About and Address their Anxieties

Unsure why your child is scared to go to the doctor? Ask them what they’re worried about. By identifying their main causes of anxiety, you can help address them. 

For example, your child might not like going to the doctor because they find them unkind, unfriendly, or intimidating. They may also be scared of experiencing pain, especially if they’ve had a vaccination or shot before. Another common child’s worry about going to the doctor? They may be afraid that they will be separated from you, and left alone in the consulting room with the doctor.

By talking through these fears, you can help reassure your child that these parts of medical visits are normal, and while it’s okay to be a little nervous, this mustn’t stop them from getting the care they need.

Tip # 3: Make the Visit Feel Fuss-free and Fun

The drive to the doctor’s appointment is often the hardest part. For parents of toddlers in particular, get ready for the bawling screams in the car on the way there. 

How to combat this? Try to get your children to think of the doctor’s visit as a fun excursion. Often, our own fears can be projected onto our children. Keeping a calm, composed demeanor about the upcoming appointment will show your child that there is nothing to fuss about.

Tip # 4: Offer a Little Incentive or Reward

Lastly, don’t be afraid to incentivize a little. What does this look like? It’s different for every family. Your child might be partial to a visit to the ice cream parlor for a tasty treat after seeing the doctor. Or, a side trip somewhere your child enjoys might be just the ticket. “After the doctor, we can go shopping”, you may tell them. Or, “We’ll go to the park next to the doctor’s office after your appointment.”

Doing this helps your little one get through the visit, as it gives them something to look forward to once it’s done.


If you’re a parent, you’ll know just how hard it can be to get your child to the doctor. Yes, it’s common for kids to be afraid of medical visits, and with good reason. Doctors can be intimidating, and they can do ‘scary’ things – like leave you alone in a room, poke or prod you, or worse, spike you with a pointy needle.

But the good news? Employing the tips we’ve outlined today should make visiting the doctor a little easier for your child, and for you.

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Jun 10, 2024 | Posted by in Uncategorized | Comments Off on The Parent’s Guide to Preparing Your Child for a Doctor’s Visit

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