Most children feel anxious about needles, blood draws, and vaccinations. However, you must ensure they are well-prepared for seamless health checkups before medical tests. If your child’s fear isn’t well-managed, they may not get themselves tested at all, making the entire situation even worse.
That’s why it’s imperative for you to ease your child’s fears before a medical test by stating clear expectations. For instance, if you’re going to test them for coronavirus using a UK government-approved FlowFlex rapid test kit, you must tell them that the swab may hurt a little for a few seconds, so they are mentally prepared ahead of time.
If you are interested in knowing some effective tips to alleviate your child’s fears before a medical test, keep reading this article!
Tip #1: Communicate With Them
If you notice that your child is feeling quite anxious about an upcoming medical test, you can sit them down and ask them openly why they feel a certain way. Here, you should take a non-judgmental and open approach because your child will be able to freely talk about it to you as a friend.
You can also guess what is stopping them from getting their medical test done by questioning them. During your conversation, you should also confirm if they are 100% sure about the procedure. Most of the time, fears are based on assumptions. Hence, communicating with them regarding the test can help them feel better.
Tip #2: Practice Facing the Fear
You can purchase a toy doctor’s kit and practice all the steps with them in a fun and friendly way. While performing all the steps, you can explain to them the purpose of every step.
In addition, you can ask them to watch an age-appropriate educational video on doctor’s visits, or you can buy them an interactive, relevant book. In the meanwhile, you should also tell them the benefits of getting a medical test done and how it will help them remain safe and healthy in the long run to be able to achieve their dreams.
Tip #3: Be Transparent With Your Children
Mostly, anxiety during a medical test is caused by unrealistic expectations set by parents. Therefore, a child becomes reluctant and loses confidence in getting other medical tests done down the road.
Rather than telling your child “the needle is not going to hurt at all” or “you won’t even feel a thing”, you must be honest with them. For example, you should tell them that when a lab assistant draws blood from your arm, you will feel like someone’s pinching you hard, and it won’t last for more than a few seconds.
Being transparent with them regarding the entire procedure will help them stay mentally prepared for every step.
Tip #4: Don’t Associate Needles With Punishment
Some parents like to tell their kids not to do this or that; otherwise, they may have to get a shot. This only develops fear in them because you are associating needles with something negative. Even if you are merely joking with them, you should totally avoid doing this.
Instead, you should educate them on the benefits of getting vaccinated or getting a certain medical test to help them cope with their fears better.
Tip #5: Develop a Coping Plan
If your child is still fearful about their medical test, you should ask them how they think they can calm themselves better. Asking such questions will make them feel that their feelings are being validated and taken care of.
Generally, you would want to play their favourite video on the phone during the procedure, allow them to hug their favourite stuffed toy, hold your hand, or start counting. Your child’s feedback can facilitate you in developing the most appropriate coping plan.
Tip #6: Offer Them a Reward
Tell your child if they get their medical test done like a brave kid, they will get a small reward from you afterward. Whenever they have to get a test done down the line, they will start thinking about the reward they will get after the test and try their best during the procedure.
It’s totally up to you what reward you want to give your child. However, it should be something your child has been eyeing for a long time or something small of their interest. For example, watching an animated movie in the cinema, eating their favourite fast food, buying them a toy, or taking them to a theme park.