Children are regularly in and out of the doctor’s office, but their appointments can be tough on them. It’s hard for kids to sit still when they’re not feeling well or for parents to take them when they’re sick. Children usually have no idea why they need to see the doctor regularly or don’t understand how it affects their health over time, making things challenging for everyone involved.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways for parents and caretakers alike to make the visit more comfortable for children of all ages. Here are some tips for entertaining your young patients during a doctor’s appointment:
1. Allow Them to Ask Questions
Engage with them during your examination. Some simple questions may help them feel more comfortable sharing information with you about themselves. These personal questions will also let you know what they like and dislike.
This way, you can recommend activities that they could enjoy in the future. For instance, if they tell you that they like ice skating or swimming, tell them fun facts about where the best ice skating or swimming is near them.
2. Decorate Your Clinic
You can also bring a little of the outdoors into your examination room, like a coastal theme decor, a fish tank, or potted plants. Bring pictures from nature they can see to help them relax and focus on something other than that they are in an unfamiliar place.
Decorations in your clinic can make the experience more enjoyable for your patients. If you are not artistic, you can hire designers and artists specializing in transforming healthcare facilities into child-friendly spaces. If you’re on a budget, make your own decorations with simple things, such as crayons, paper cutouts, or yarn.
3. Bring Toys for Them to Play With
Modern children expect technology whenever they enter an unknown space. Equip your clinic with small toys or games that will keep your young patients occupied when they need to wait for lab results or other examinations.
The battery-operated handheld games are perfect because they require minimal supervision while still engaging the child long enough to allow you to perform your necessary tasks.
4. Consider Painting Your Clinic with Interesting Murals
Consider painting murals associated with what they are usually interested in, such as a space mural. Murals can be a source of visual entertainment and distraction. They can be anything from pictures of sea creatures to jungle animals to even paintings of the sky filled with puffy clouds. It can help your patient calm down when they are in an unfamiliar situation, like a doctor’s appointment.
Combine it with custom benches and chairs and even examination tables. You can also consider putting some overall color on the clinic’s windows. It’s an excellent way to give your patients something fascinating to look at when they are waiting for tests or other examinations that could take time to complete.
5. Ensure Your Staff is Friendly
If your staff is unfriendly to children, it can be hard for the child to trust anything they say. It’s important that your staff doesn’t interact inappropriately or unprofessionally with children. Your office’s appearance and atmosphere will also impact their feelings toward you and your practice.
For instance, children may be frightened of what you are doing during an examination, but if the nurse has a cheerful disposition about their work, your child patient can have someone to talk to while they wait for you to finish your tests.
6. Be Kind and Patient with Them
When your patient is restless, take a break and have a fun activity to do together. This can build trust between you and your patient, so they’ll know that you’re both in this together—that it’s not just them having a difficult time sitting still for the appointment.
For instance, make jokes about how long the wait will be or ask them to guess what some of your medical items are. No matter what, make sure to be patient with your young patients and alleviate any stress they may have.
Your goal is to ensure that your young patients have a great visit to keep them coming back for future checkups. They should feel comfortable and safe in your care, with positive experiences to remember when they are older.
Work hard to engage them during their appointment by asking questions about what they like, decorating the room with nature-based murals, creating a safari themed office, or providing child-friendly toys from modern technology. On top of these, orient your staff to be friendly and kind when talking to them while waiting for their examination or tests.