Good Advice

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Medical Tests

Medical tests at the doctor’s office, a lab or the hospital can be hard on for both parents and children, but they don’t have to be.

By Chris Gaspar

Here are some ways to help you keep calm and help your child feel safe during a medical procedure:

  • Try to schedule the test during a time when your child won’t be tired or hungry.
  • Find out what the test involves and share as much as you feel is appropriate with your child.
  • Don’t promise something that may not be true. For example, don’t tell them the test won’t hurt. Rather, tell them that you’ll be nearby if they need you.
  • Ask your doctor about any medicine, or other treatments/therapies that could help to reduce your child’s discomfort.
  • Don’t scold your little one for being afraid or crying. Instead try your best to keep them stress-free before and after the test. Note: Being unhappy with your child’s behaviour could make them more tense and/or stressed than they already are. The best way to make sure your child remains calm is to stay calm yourself.
  • Talk about the good things that will happen after the test, such as going home, or getting a special treat afterwards. Also explain how the test will help your child’s overall health and condition.

Having fun while you wait!

Waiting for a medical test can be just as intimidating or frustrating as the test itself. Lines can be long and your child may become restless. Some things you can do to keep your child stress-free and busy for hours include: bringing a game or puzzle that you can play with together (even a word game works well) or bringing your child’s favourite snack as a treat. If your hospital has a playroom it could give your child a chance to play and interact with others to help pass the time.

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