When you think about it, children have every right to hate going to the doctor's office. They're usually already sick when they go, so the excursion begins with discomfort. Then, they have strangers in a foreign environment poking and prodding at them, sometimes with painful needles. They're basically conditioned to hate the very idea of it, so it is your job, as a parent, to turn this conditioning on its head. Here are three ways to make a trip to urgent care for kids a much better experience.
- Give them a treat on the way home. This is a perfect plan for children that have suffered broken bones. Four out of five urgent care clinics provide fracture care, so they're a great place to take your rambunctious child if they got a little too rambunctious and broke a bone. Once they're all patched up with a cast of their very own, take them to their favorite toy store on the route back home. Reward your child for being so strong and brave and making it through a scary experience, and they'll associate the trip (as physically painful as it might have been) with a positive memory, spending the rest of the day focused on their brand new toy rather than the painful memory associated with their brand new cast. This can even mean ice cream or a special kind of candy or food that they're rarely allowed to have -- anything to pull them out of the frightening experience.
- Bring comfort with you. The wait time can be quite long at medical clinics, and your child may become fussy. They're already sick and not feeling well, so a visit to urgent care for kids can be eased by bringing whatever comforts them along for the ride. This can range from their favorite game to their favorite stuffed animal or blanket -- anything to keep them distracted and comfortable.
- Offer constant encouragement. Encouragement is vital; children look to adults to understand how they should be feeling or acting especially young ones. If you continually reassure your child that they're being so brave and strong and that you're so proud of them for being so brave and strong, they'll start to believe it themselves. Kids are remarkable in their ability to bounce back from almost any situation, and the power of verbal support from the people they care about most bolsters that ability even further.
Sometimes, urgent care for kids is needed and simply must be done; that doesn't mean the experience has to be utterly agonizing. By following these three things, you can turn a miserable trip into a positive one.