How to Encourage Your Young Patients to Participate During Check-Ups

How to Encourage Your Young Patients to Participate During Check-Ups

Children are not often excited when they go to the doctor’s office for checkups. This often leads to misbehavior in the waiting room or exam room, which can be disruptive and potentially dangerous when medical equipment is involved. Some parents bring along toys or books to help entertain their children during their appointments, so everyone stays safe and healthy.

But as their healthcare provider, you have to make sure they’re safe and healthy in your office, too. Having toys, books, or videos for them to play with while you’re taking their vitals will all help make your patients more relaxed and likely to cooperate when it’s time for the tests.

Here are six simple tricks to encourage your young patients to cooperate during their checkups:

1. Allow Them to Ask Questions

During your examination, engage with them in conversation. Let them ask questions about what you’re doing and the room you’re in. For example, if they’re interested, let them know that there’s a machine for seeing inside their body. Sometimes kids get nervous when their doctor is poking them with something, but if you explain what you’re doing, they’ll be more likely to trust your intentions.

2. Decorate Your Clinic

You can also bring a little of the outdoors into your examination room, like safari decorations, a fish tank, or potted plants. Bring pictures from nature they can look at 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. Some designers and artists specialize in transforming healthcare facilities into child-friendly spaces if you are not artistic. If you’re on a budget, make your own decorations with simple things, such as crayons, paper cutouts, or yarn. 

Click here to see ideas of beautiful themes you can include in your design plans.

3. Bring Toys for Them to Play With

Modern children expect technology whenever they enter an unknown room. 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

You can also paint murals associated with outdoor activities, such as a jungle wall 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.

5. Ensure Your Staff is Friendly

Give your staff permission to engage with patients, especially younger children. If they ask what their favorite TV show or video game is, then let them know that it’s okay to bring some of those things in for the kids to watch during their appointment. This will help keep your office fun and engaging for young patients, so they don’t get bored.

6. Be Kind and Patient with Them

You must show kindness and understanding for your younger patients. It can be difficult not to lose patience with children who constantly ask questions and move about during an appointment or examination, but you must not reprimand them.

If they feel like you are not paying attention, they could become even more anxious. Be sure to give your patients positive praises if they behave during the appointment.

The Takeaway

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, like an underwater mural wallpaper or child-friendly toys from modern technology. Also, make sure that the staff they meet is friendly and kind to have someone to talk to while they wait for their examination or tests.