Pediatric Associates of the NW Blogs

5 Ways to Help Your Toddler (and You) Love Their Next Well Visit

M. Allison Baynham, MD
August 23, 2017 09:00AM

Taking your toddler in for a well visit can be tough.  Between tantrums, tears and the likelihood of shots, many parents worry it will be a negative experience for their child and for themselves.  Here at Pediatric Associates of the Northwest (PANW), we want your experience to be a positive one! We also want you and your child to be able to get the most out of your well visits.  With some advance preparation, you can help your child feel more comfortable and more in control. Let’s make your next well visit your best one yet!

Here are some tips to maximize your experience and minimize frustrations:

Ask questions.  Keep a running list on a small notebook or in your phone so that you can write things down as you think of them.  Often, trips to the grocery store or play groups will trigger questions. Write them down at that time so you’ll be prepared to access them at your PANW appointment and avoid the moments of “Oh, what was that I was going to ask…?”

Bring something to entertain the sibling(s).  It is almost impossible to ask questions and listen to explanations/advice when you’re also entertaining a sibling.  Things can really go haywire if one child starts crying and upsets the other, etc.  Bringing a favorite toy, book, or even a special “screen time” allowance that they just get to use at the appointment can keep things calm, which results in a better visit for you and your child.

Address fear of the unknown.  Toddlers are usually most afraid when faced with an unfamiliar environment where they don’t know what to expect, and, to top it off, a lot of times all they remember when they come to the doctor is getting a shot in the same place last time.  If you can, purchase a toy medical kit for your child to “practice” on his or her favorite stuffed animal or doll.  Show him/her how to check ears, listen to the heart and lungs and feel the belly. Explain that the medical provider will do the same thing at the child’s visit.  Bring the toy kit and the favorite “patient” to the visit so that your child feels familiar with the routine and can even help examine along with the provider.

Prepare for shots.  Call ahead if you can to find out what shots your child will be due for and to review our new pain reduction techniques.  On our website, you can also see which immunizations are typically given at each well child appointment. We have some exciting new tools available, including the shot-blocker, the Buzzy Bee and topical numbing cream that you can apply at home in advance. 

Make it a rewarding experience.  Plan on a small treat or reward for after the visit, no matter what happens.  This can be a trip to a favorite park or a small toy or sticker, etc.  Having the visit end on a positive note makes it more likely your child will recall the experience as a pleasant one.

Ready to try some of these out?  Give us a call at 503-227-0671 or visit our patient portal to schedule your next appointment online.  If you’re not already registered for the portal, give us a call and we can help get you set up.  Not sure if you’re due for a visit?  Routine check-ups are done at ages 2 weeks, 1 month, 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 9 months, 12 months, 15 months, 18 months, 24 months, 30 months, 3 years, and then annually.

We look forward to seeing you and your child in the office!