Doctor's Office Expedition
- A book to share in the waiting room
- A small stuffed animal as a pretend patient
- Scavenger hunt pictures (see below)
- Height and weight chart (see below)
- Time your visit. Avoid meltdowns by scheduling your appointment at a time when your child is well-rested and well-fed.
- Talk about it. Avoid saying things like "Don't be scared." Instead outline what things will happen during the visit: "First you'll get to play with the toys in the waiting room, then you'll get weighed, then the doctor will listen to your heart" and so on. If possible, take a younger child along for an older child's checkup, if it won't involve a (dreaded) shot.
- Go online. Preview the kinds of tools your child will see in the doctor's office to help your child know what to expect. Print out pictures and explain what each tool does: A stethoscope helps the doctor listen to your heart; an ophthalmoscope checks your eyes; an otoscope checks your ears. Bring the pictures along on your visit.
- Go on a scavenger hunt. See if your child can spot these things in the doctor's office: scale, baby scale, examining table, tongue depressor, blood pressure cuff, otoscope, stethoscope, ophthalmoscope, sink, bandage, plastic gloves, lab coat.
- Play pretend. Ask your doctor to examine your child's stuffed animal first so your child can see what happens at each step.
- Weigh in. Help your child start a chart that shows his weight and height on each visit. Back home, mark his new height on a wall or growth chart.
- Feel the beat. Have your child place two fingers on his neck or wrist. Can he feel the thump, thump, thump of his heart? Can he feel your heartbeat, too? Your pediatrician may allow your child to listen through his stethoscope.
- Minimize the shot. If your child must get a shot, ask him to look at you and squeeze your two fingers as hard as he can. Or ask him to sing a favorite song with you or count the ducks in the wallpaper.
- Investigate. Ask your child these questions:
- What does a nurse do?
- What does a doctor do?
- What are some of the tools they use?
- Do you have any questions for the doctor?
- Read all about it. Check out ABC Doctor: Staying Healthy from A to Z by Liz Murphy, Blue's Checkup by Sarah Albee and Doctor Maisy by Lucy Cousins.
For more exploring, play Dora's Great Big World game, find do-together Dora crafts, recipes, and activities, and print a personalized Explorer Kit for your child at DoraTheExplorer.com.
Thanks to Susan Hood
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