Most kids don't exactly look forward to visiting the doctor, but for really shy kids, seeing the pediatrician can be even more overwhelming. Plus, since shy children do not always communicate with strangers well, the doctor may have trouble getting the answers and information they need to make a diagnosis or help your little one stay healthy. So, how do you go about taking a shy child to the pediatrician? Here are a few tips that can help.
Explain the doctor's job
You understand that the doctor is not a stranger, but to a child who only sees the doctor on occasion, the doctor can certainly seem like a stranger. So, it can be helpful to sit down and talk to your child about doctors and what they do before the visit. Explain that it's okay for your child to feel shy, but that there's no reason to be embarrassed or afraid of the doctor. Emphasize that even though your child does not know the doctor, you do — so your child can trust them, unlike a true stranger.
It can be hard to tell if a child's shyness around the doctor is actually just shyness or if it is rooted in anxiety. If you think your child may truly be feeling really anxious and worried about doctor's visits and the anxiety is just coming off as shyness, then you may want to schedule a session or two with a therapist prior to the doctor's visit. A therapist can gently work with your child to develop strategies to ease their anxiety during the visit, which may help them be more open with the pediatrician.
Talk to your child beforehand so you have the answers
Make sure you talk extensively with your child about any symptoms they are experiencing and about their health before the pediatrician's appointment. Ask them any questions you think the doctor may ask them. This way, if the doctor asks your child a question and they are too shy to answer, you can at least tell the doctor what your child told you earlier. Try to give your child a chance to respond before you jump in, though. Shyness at the doctor's can be overcome with practice, so give them a chance to practice.
With the tips above, both you and your child can get through the doctor's visit with fewer struggles. Most children do overcome their shyness in time, so have patience. Reach out to a pediatrician for more tips.