Pediatric Preparation for Medical Tests - Preparing Your Child for a Medical Test
Children ages 6 to
12 may be afraid of doctors. If your child is old enough to understand that he
or she needs this test, explain what will happen during the visit. Always be
honest with your child. If you want help, you could ask the doctor or nurse to
explain what is going to happen.
- School-age children are interested in how
things work, so your child may have many questions about what the test shows
and why it is needed.
- Use positive words as much as possible. For example, say "The
doctor needs to check you over in order to find out how to fix this and help you
- Younger children in this age group may also
benefit from having a test explained right before it is done rather than days
ahead of time, so they do not have time to worry or dream about the
- Help your child talk about his or her fears through play.
Younger children in this age group may like you to pretend to give a doll the
same exam or test while they watch. Then let your child perform the test on the
- Children in this age group are very concerned about their
bodies. Help your child express his or her concerns so he or she can feel part
of the process. If there is a chance for your child to make a choice (even as
simple as the color of gown to wear), allow it. Your child may be more
cooperative if you let him or her make reasonable choices.
- Bring your child's favorite book or toy to help distract your
child during the test. See if your child might be able to watch a movie during
- Talk about the good things that will happen at the end of the test, like going home. Focus on how your child may feel afterward and how the test may help with a health condition.
Teens also may be afraid when they go to see
a doctor. Explain what will happen during the visit and why. Be up-front and honest
with your child. If you want help, you could ask the doctor or nurse to explain
what is going to happen.
- Allow your teen to ask questions. Also allow
your teen to speak with the doctor without your being present if he or she
wishes. Your child's doctor can give you and your teen guidelines on the
confidentiality of the visit.
- If there is a chance for your teen to
make a choice, allow it. Teens need to have some control in their lives and may
be more cooperative when they are allowed to make reasonable
- Encourage your teen to bring a book or game to help pass
the time during the test. Ask if your teen might be able to watch a movie
during the test.
- Have your teen try to relax his or her mind and body before or during the test.
- Stress Management: Relaxing Your Mind and Body
You may want to tell your child that even grown-ups
feel anxious about exams and tests. This can help your child understand that it
is normal to worry.