Bring distractions to the doctor's office. Healthy snacks, like trail mix, work wonders for keeping kids in a good mood. It also keeps them busy during less comfortable moments. Books and toys can come in handy for the waiting time, as well as during stressful times. Crayons and a coloring book can soothe the nerves and keep a toddler's mind off other things. When tantrums occur, distractions are often more effective than words for toddlers. They may tune out your voice. But their eyes may light up at the sight of something fun.
Role play beforehand. If you know that your toddler may throw a tantrum at the doctor's office, you can prepare ahead of time. Try purchasing a doctor's kit or making one from random household items. Let your toddler pretend to be a doctor. You or even a favorite doll or stuffed animal can be the patient. Then, reverse the roles and pretend to be the doctor, explaining what each item will be used for. If your child is nervous even with just toy instruments and mock examining, let a doll be the patient instead. You can do things like look inside the ears, listen to the heartbeat, and so on. Sometimes acting it all out gives the child a better understanding that there is nothing to be afraid of.
Hold your child during the examination. Most pediatricians understand that kids can get a little frightened. When my kids were toddlers, the doctor would let me hold them during the examination. Most every child sees their parent as a comfort zone. It's also easier to keep your child's arms from grabbing at the doctor or his instruments when he needs to get close. Plus, you get to hug your child right after the examination is complete, which will be a great soother for you both.
Make it fun. Try turning the doctor's visit into something to look forward to. If you make it into an adventure, your child is likely to follow suit. During the moments when the doctor is not in the room, you can show your child around and explain things. Emphasize on what a cool place it is. You can make comments such as "Isn't it neat how the doctor can see all the way inside your ears with this?" "It's so cool that he can tell if you're sick or not just by doing this." "Good thing we have doctors to help us out." When kids hear these things, it is definitely more soothing than "Sit down and relax" or "Don't touch that. It's dangerous." You can keep them safe without making the doctor's office seem so scary and dangerous.
*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network