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Doctor Visit: Don’ts

Everyone wants the visit to the pediatrician to go well. If you avoid these things, it will help the visit go smoother. (See also article: Doctor Visit: Do’s).

  1. Do NOT lie to or trick your child. Tell your child the truth about what will happen and where they are going. I’m not advocating that you tell your child numerous times the week prior to a visit that they are going to get poked with shots, etc., but if they ask directly: “Am I getting shots?” don’t lie. Don’t tell your child that you are going elsewhere and then take your child to the doctor. Don’t say that it won’t hurt when it very well may. It is of utmost importance that you don’t lose credibility. Because when it really is ok and really won’t hurt, they need to know that you are telling them the truth.
  2. Do NOT make promises you may not be able to keep. One of the scariest parts of going to the doctor for a child is the prospect of getting poked (either by vaccinations, blood draws, or medication administration). If you promise no pokes to your child and then I discover your child needs something involving a poke, you lose trust. In the few circumstances where waiting to the next visit is an option (e.g., catching up a vaccination), it just prolongs the agony for the child.
  3. Do NOT try the sibling sneak. Every pediatrician has a name for it: “the sibling sneak,” “the 2-fer,” or the “while we’re here” approach of having the doctor look at two kids (usually siblings) in one visit. It’s the, “while we’re here can you just peek in Susie’s ear?” question that comes at the end of Timmy’s appointment. While a one minute look really isn’t that big of a deal, it can be a bigger deal if there are problems, complications, issues requiring further questioning/prescriptions, etc. It short-changes everyone. Susie doesn’t get the full time and attention she deserves (including proper documentation of her problem), the doctor is now running behind schedule, and the other patients are now waiting.