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4 Tips for Tear-Free Check-Ups

The average child will have 9 well visits in their first two years of life and at least one checkup every year after. For kids who tend to worry and even fear going to the doctor, this can be overwhelming. There are a few things parents can do to calm the fears of kids who have an upcoming checkup.

Discuss what will happen

Prior to the appointment, talk to your child honestly about what to expect. Ask your child if they have any questions or concerns. Be honest and tell the truth so they know what to expect, even if it is something unpleasant, like shots. The more information your child has the more comfortable they will feel when the day of the check-up arrives.


Playing doctor is not only fun for kids but it’s also a great way to get themselves more comfortable with the idea of visiting the doctor. Check out library books about visiting the doctor or watching children’s videos like Daniel Tiger or Doc McStuffins that help kids learn what to expect from a doctor visit. Role playing helps kids act out their fears and concerns as well as become more comfortable with new situations.

Come prepared

When the day of the check-up arrives, try to be as prepared as possible. Pack items that will entertain your child if they have to wait, such as books, small toys, coloring books and crayons, or a tablet. Include any comfort items that may help your child if he is nervous or upset. It’s also important for the parent to prepare themselves to be a calm and supportive through the check-up. Children can sense our fears and nervousness. When mom and dad are calm and comfortable, the child will most likely feel the same way.

Plan a reward

Prior to the visit, set up a reward, big or small, for your child. Having something to look forward to after the check-up can make even a reluctant child more willing to cooperate during their time with the doctor. Choose something that will motivate your child, like ice cream, going out for lunch or a trip to the the park, or some parents may decide to purchase a small toy or book their child has had their eye on. Whatever you choose as a reward, explain to your child what it will be and how they will earn it. After the visit, tell them you are proud of them for their bravery and talk about how they felt during the appointment. When a child knows they can talk about their feelings honestly, they are usually more likely to discuss other fears in the future. 

10 Children’s Books About Doctor Visits

Books can help kids understand what to expect from an upcoming doctor visit and help them work through their fears. Check your local library for these titles to read with your child.

1. A Visit to Dr. Duck by Rosemary Wells

2. How Do Dinosaurs Get Well Soon? by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague

3. Nervous Nellie: A Book for Children Who Worry by Dr. Urmila Pai M.D.

4. Biscuit Visits the Doctor by Alyssa Satin Capucilli

5. The Berenstain Bears Go to the Doctor by Stan and Jan Berenstain

6. Corduroy Goes to the Doctor by Don Freeman and Lisa McCue

7. Froggy Goes to the Doctor by Jonathan London

8. Doctor Maisy by Lucy Cousins

9. George Visits the Doctor by Nicola Smee

10. Sarah and Duck Visit the Doctor by Sarah Gomes Harris

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Tags: Featured Story, Health, Infant & Baby, Parenting, Toddler

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